Ham, Potato, and Corn Chowder

I love corn chowder, and I love ham, and potatoes are always good. So of course this soup is now near the top of my favorites list. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


Ham, Potato, and Corn Chowder
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves 4

Oil or butter for sauteing
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 cup milk (2%)
2 to 3 medium potatoes (russet or other hard potato)
1/4 to 1/3 pre-cooked ham (I recommend honey ham)
1 cup frozen corn
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil or butter in large soup pot. Add onion, carrots, celery and saute until starting to soften. Add garlic, thyme, and flour, and cook until flour is lightly browned.

Slowly add broth, deglazing pan as you go. Add milk, potatoes, and ham, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are cooked. Add corn and simmer until corn is heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Original found here.


Ham & Pea Soup with Dumplings, Trini-style

So, anyone who knows me already knows this, but here it is for those of you who do not know me well- I have a great dislike for green peas. Therefore ham and pea soup, which my hubby grew up on, is not a thing I ever make. The weather got cold a couple of weeks ago, and I decided I wanted both soup and ham. I am not sure what guided me to my friend Brianna’s food blog So Hungary to browse her recipes. I found her Humble Ham and Pea Soup (with Dumplings), and decided that it didn’t look so bad. The dumplings are what really sold me; growing up in the Caribbean, dumplings are put into all soups, stews, curries, etc. So I bought some ham and some peas, and I thought I would give it a shot. I am so happy with how this soup turned out. I hope you enjoy this melding of Iain’s and my childhood favorites.

Ham & Pea Soup with Dumplings, Trini-style
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cook time: 1 1/2 hrs to 2 hrs
Serves: 6-8

Olive oil
2 sweet onions, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
5 medium garden carrots, chopped
1lb smoked ham, chopped into bite-sized pieces
12 cup water
3 dried bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 cups sweet summer peas, frozen
Salt & Pepper to taste

1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup water

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and carrots; sauté until onions are soft and translucent. Add ham, sauté for a few more minutes to heat the ham and get some crispness into the edges. Add water, bay leaves, rosemary, and lemon juice. Simmer for 1 hr.

Meanwhile mix together flour and salt, and add water by the tbsp until dough is formed. (You might not use the full 1/2 cups.) Roll dough between hands and drop 1/2″ long by 1/4″ wide dough balls into soup. Simmer for another 30 minutes.

When soup is about 5 minutes from being done, add peas, and season to taste with salt and pepper.


Spicy Gumbo-laya

I love jambalaya, but have never had gumbo. I had this amazing gumbo-laya from a food truck this past week, and of course I just had to try making it myself. I melded a few online recipes, as well as drawing on my own jambalaya recipe. Hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Spicy Gumbo-laya
Cook time 20-30 minutes
Yields 6 servings

Oil for cooking
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2-3 sausages, your flavour preference, sliced*
1 onion, chopped
1-2 bell peppers, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups (or so) chicken broth
1 can (14oz) diced tomatoes
1 package (10oz) frozen chopped okra**
1 1/2 cup long grain rice
1/2 lb large shrimp or prawns
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste

Cook rice according to directions and keep warm.

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Cook chicken and sausage* fully; remove from pan and set aside. Leave remaining oil and juices; add onion and bell pepper, sauté until soft. Add flour and stir until golden. Gradually add in chicken broth, diced tomatoes (with juices). Add chicken and sausage mixture and okra**, simmer. Add shrimps/prawns and simmer until cooked through. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne.

Serve with rice and cornbread.

*Freeze sausage for 45-60 minutes before cutting; it makes it easier. Alternatively you can bake them (slice small holes in casing, 350F) before slicing and adding to meal. If you go this route, add with shrimps/prawns near end of cook time.

**If you cannot find okra, mix 1 tbsp corn starch with 2 tbsp hot water, and add slowly to simmering mixture. Great way to thicken without altering flavour.

Spicy Jambalaya

This is a recipe handed down to me by my mother. It’s definitely a household favourite and one I will gladly share! Enjoy!

Prep time: 30 minutes (while the sausage is freezing I cut everything else)
Cook time: 45 minutes
Yields: 4-6 servings (rough estimate) 

1 lb Spicy Italian sausage (freeze for 15-30 minutes before cutting)
2 green peppers, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp cayenne
1 tbsp basil
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and thinly diced
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup white wine (or chicken broth)
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups rice
1 lb shrimp or prawns
2 cups diced smoked ham (optional)
¼ cup cilantro (optional) 

Slice sausage into ½ inch pieces & cook in large wok or pot for 10 minutes (until cooked). Drain fat and return to heat.
Add green pepper, red pepper, onion, garlic, oregano, basil, and jalapeno peppers. Cook for 10 minutes.
Add tomato paste, wine, chicken broth, and rice. Bring to a simmer. Cover and gently simmer for 20 minutes, until rice is cooked.
Add shrimp/prawns and ham. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, or until shrimp/prawns are cooked.
Mix in cilantro and cook for 1 minute, then serve.

Leek & Ham Risotto

One of the cookbooks my boyfriend brought with him when we recently moved in together is an entire book of risotto and rice recipes. As you can imagine, I am in heaven. I found a recipe for Leek & Ham risotto in that cookbook, but in the end I really just made my standby Risotto alla Milanese and added leek, ham, and fresh thyme. Enjoy!

Leek & Ham Risotto
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 45 min (ish)
Serves 6 (as a main course)

2 tbsp margarine or oil
2 leeks, finely chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
2-3 cups smoked ham, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1.5 cups  arborio, or other short-grain Italian rice
4 cups hot chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano – I presume this is Parmesan cheese; in either case, that it what I use
Fresh thyme, to taste (I used approx 1-2 tsp)

Heat broth in medium saucepan over medium heat until hot but not boiling; keep hot.

Meanwhile, saute leek in 2 tbsp butter in a large pot for 3 minutes, until translucent and soft. Add ham and mushrooms, saute for another 3-5 minutes. Stir in rice and cook over medium until edges are translucent for 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of the broth, and bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Adjust heat to maintain a steady simmer. Cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed, stirring every couple of minutes. Add 1 cup broth and keep cooking until absorbed; repeat until rice is al dente but not raw. Stir in thyme.

When the rice is ready, stir in cheese. Add any remaining broth until desired consistency is reached. Remove from heat and stir in remaining butter. Season with salt and pepper if desired, and serve.

For a basic risotto recipe, click here.

Dad’s Scalloped Potatoes

Everyone gets their love of cooking from somewhere. I’m lucky in that I got my love for cooking from both of my parents. My Mum always makes delicious meals, and can take any mistake and turn it into a fabulous meal. (Or at least she’s saved me a bunch of times.) My Dad is one of those lucky people who can just throw ingredients together, and out of it all comes some fabulous dinner that is always delicious. Luckily both of my parents love to share their recipes, so here is one of many to come from my Dad. Enjoy!

Dad’s Scalloped Potatoes
Prep time : 15 min (12 hr, 15 min incl. marinate time)
Cook time: 45 min
Yields: 8-10 servings (ie 1 large cassarole dish)

8 sliced potatoes (hold in cold water)
3 tbsp butter
1 cup diced ham
1 tbsp soya sauce
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup sliced onion
1/4 cup sliced chives
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups scalded milk
1 tsp seasoning salt
1 pinch black pepper (to taste)
3 tbsp flour
1/4 cup shredded cheese, plus extra for topping
2 oz cream cheese

Blend white wine and soya sauce, and add sliced ham. Leave to marinate for 12 hours in fridge.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Saute the sliced onion in a medium saucepan in butter over low heat for about 3 minutes, or until brown. Add in chives and garlic, and stir over low heat until garlic browns. Add ham marinade and saute until liquid is reduced completely. (Set ham aside for now.)

Mix milk, salt, black pepper, and 2 tbsp flour with whisk.

Lay one layer of potatoes in greased baking dish. Add half of saute mixture, sprinkle with flour, cheese, marinated ham, and dot with cream cheese. Pour milk blend to cover contents. Reserve what is left. Continue adding layers of potatoes, pouring some saute mixture over, sprinkling flour, cheese, marinated ham, and dotting with cream cheese, until dish is full. Pour remaining milk blend into dish to cover contents.

Bake at 350F for 45 minutes, until sauce is boiling. Add additional cheese over top and bake 5 minutes until cheese is lightly browned. Serve and enjoy!

For a vegetarian version, remove ham.

S. & Dad

Shrimp Creole with Savory Sauteed Rice, aka Dixie Shrimp

This recipe is a twist on a classic shrimp creole that my mother introduced me to, and that I added my own twist to last night. It’s simple, and can be as spicy as you want, and in my opinion is absolutely delicious! Have fun making this delicious dinner!

Shrimp Creole with Savory Sauteed Rice, aka Dixie Shrimp

Prep & Cook time: 25 minutes
Yields: 2 servings

1/4 cup dry converted rice – I used 1/2 cup and still found it to be a little wanting.
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/4 tsp ground black pepper – I don’t like black pepper so I left this out.
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 lb large shrimp, peeled, and deveined, tails on – I tend to remove the tails and butterfly the shrimp, personal preference.
1/2 cup diced ham
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
2 tsp minced garlic
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved – I also don’t like tomatoes, so these stayed out of the recipe.
1/4 cup minced scallions
Tabasco sauce to taste – Use your preferred hot sauce. I have a homemade pepper sauce from Trinidad that I used and it was delicious!

Cook rice according to directions, set aside, keep warm.
Combine salt, paprika, thyme, pepper, and cayenne in a bowl. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Saute shrimp and ham in 1 tbsp olive oil on medium-high heat approx. 4 minutes, until shrimp are cooked. Transfer to bowl, set aside, keep warm.
Return pan to heat, saute green pepper and garlic in remaining 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat until peppers begin to soften (approx. 2 minutes). Stir in tomatoes and rice, cook 3-4 minutes. Add shrimp and ham, combine and warm through. Stir in scallions and Tabasco sauce. Serve.

This recipe originally came from Cuisine At Home magazine, “Cuisine for Two”, page 72.

Enjoy! And do let me know which hot sauce you use, or what modifications you try!