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Corn and Chick Pea Chowder Soup & Skillet Apple Pie

by MARY ABITANTO

The Sunday Dinner Club: We here at The Sunday Paper believe in meaningful conversations around the table, and we want to encourage you to start your own Sunday Dinner Club. Invite friends and family members to your home, reach out virtually, and share meaningful conversations. Then report back to us and tell us about the experience.

The Ingredients of a Meaningful Dinner: 1) Set an intention. 2) Say Grace. 3) Serve healthy food. 4) Start talking. 5) Be open-minded and listen.

Conversation Starter: You want to hear an opposing view, so how would you start a conversation with someone about an issue you know you differ on? 

RECIPE:

This is an all-time favorite soup that can be made more like a chowder by adding bits of corn and chunks of potatoes. I have made this soup so many times and keep changing it ever-so-slightly each time based on what I have in my fridge. With that said, I have finally recorded the basic recipe, but you can do variations on a theme depending upon what you have in stock and based on your own tastes. For instance, you can use the shallots and also saute some celery if you have it on hand.

You can add some diced red potatoes for a pop of color, and a few chickpeas or bits of corn to give your soup more of a chunky taste. In this case, it would be more like a chowder. If you want a spicy Moroccan flare, skip the basil and add fresh chopped cilantro, parsley along with some cumin and spicy dried red chili flakes. Either way, this soup is delicious and creamy without the addition of cream which adds excess fat and calories. Cheese is incorporated into this recipe, but you can simply omit it if you avoid dairy or cannot eat it.

This recipe is pureed, but if you like it chunky, remember to reserve a small amount of corn kernels, and chickpeas. Start by cutting the fresh kernels off the ear of corn and set those aside. Be sure to cut them off inside of a bowl with high sides so the kernels don’t get all over the floor.

Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 1-2 shallots, diced
  • 2 cups canned chick peas, drained
  • 4 ears of white corn
  • 2 tablespoons dried Parsley
  • 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
  • About 6 small red potatoes, diced (optional)
  • 1 (32 oz) container of a good quality chicken stock
  • Fresh ginger, ground 11/2 teaspoons (can substitute with store-bought, use 1 teaspoon)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Sea salt to taste
  • A good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup of shredded white sharp cheddar cheese
  • Garnish: paprika, shredded basil, fresh cheese, whole chickpeas

Using a large pot, add some extra virgin olive oil and saute the diced shallots for 3-4 minutes. Add in a little ground sea salt. Then add in the corn and let that cook for 5 minutes on very low heat. Time to add in about 3/4 of the container of the chicken stock, and 2 cups of chickpeas, rinsed and drained. Pour everything into a high-speed blender and puree. Then add the mixture back into the pot. Note: if you have some celery you want to use, you can saute them along with shallots.

Once it’s back in the pot add in a drizzle of oil. Let this cook for a few minutes. I notice sometimes that a foam will form on the top of the soup, so gently skim it off with a large spoon, then add in the rest of your ingredients. I believe it’s from the canned chickpeas. Next, add the paprika, black pepper, dried parsley flakes, the freshly ground ginger, and the cheese to the pot. The color will deepen as you add the paprika. You can be generous with these unless you don’t like things spicy then go easy on the black pepper and ginger. The ginger definitely gives this soup a zing!

If you opt to add in the diced potatoes into the pureed soup, cut the potatoes into tiny pieces and drop in the soup. Let the soup simmer on low for roughly 1 hour, maybe less. This soup tends to get very thick especially the longer it simmers, so have some extra broth on hand. You may want to have another container just in case.

Slice some fresh basil as a garnish, along with some whole chickpeas, maybe some bits of corn and a dash of paprika and parsley to make a visually appealing bowl of soup that will also be nutritious and satisfying.

Variation: If you are craving a somewhat more earthy and spicy chowder, try some chopped cilantro and parsley as well as cumin instead of the ginger, along with some dried red chili flakes. 

SKILLET APPLE PIE

RECIPE:

Apple pie made in a cast-iron skillet is as easy as pie! Buy a pre-made pie crust like Pillsbury in the refrigerator section. They come two in a box. You’ll need about 8-9 gala apples. I prefer to buy organic apples because they are so tasty and sweet. You’ll want to pile in as many apples as you can fit in the pan. They will shrink as you cook them, too, so keep that in mind.

Ingredients:

  • 8-9 large organic gala apples, peeled, cut into thin slices
  • 1 heaping tablespoon light brown sugar
  • ½ cup white granulated sugar
  • A few dashes of ground cinnamon
  • ½ lemon squeezed
  • 2 teaspoons tapioca (for pies!)
  • 1 box pre-made pie dough in the refrigerator section. (You’ll need two pie crusts)
  • A medium-sized skillet
  • A few tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • Optional, ¼ cup golden raisins, soaked

Set your oven at 375 degrees. Rinse the apples, take off the skin, and thinly and uniformly slice them. In a large bowl add the apple slices and a squeeze of lemon. Then add in 1/2 cup white granulated sugar, 1 heaping tablespoon of light brown sugar, and a dash of cinnamon as well as 2 teaspoons tapioca, and mix well! The tapioca will thicken the juices.You can add in yellow raisins if you’d like. Tip: soak the raisins in hot water to plump them up.

Next, pour the apples into the skillet, keep on medium heat, and cook for about 5-6 minutes just until slightly tender. Turn the heat off and take off the burner. Let this cool for 10 minutes or more.

Using a rolling pin, roll out one pie crust onto a wood board or clean work surface with a dusting of all-purpose flour so it doesn’t stick. Then place it over the skillet and tuck the edges into the pan so the pie is sealed. Now roll out the second pie crust and cut out free form style leaves, flowers, etc, or use a cookie cutter and cut out leaves, hearts, stars. You can even create a lattice pie crust. Be creative and have fun!

Be sure to add 4 slits to allow steam to escape. Use extra care as you seal the top pie crust as the pan is still likely very warm as cast iron retains heat!

Bake in oven at 375 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. Baking times may vary. Once the crust is golden brown, take it out. This pie is not served as a slice, it’s more of a spoonful of pie, as there is no base holding everything together. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Put an oven mitt by the handle so your guests know it’s warm. If you notice it’s a bit runny, add more tapioca next time. This pie makes the house smell so good. Enjoy!

This recipe was featured in the Oct. 20th edition of The Sunday Paper. The Sunday Paper inspires hearts and minds to rise above the noise. To get The Sunday Paper delivered to your inbox each Sunday morning for free, click here to subscribe.

MARY ABITANTO

Mary Abitanto of Mariooch’s Kitchen has a passion for food, family, giving to others and the bonding ritual of mealtime, all integral to her life. Rooted in her Italian grandmother’s old-world traditions and memories of boisterous family gatherings, Mary’s modern Mediterranean inspired take on the family meal incorporates fresh and local ingredients and alternatives for families with food allergies and food sensitivities. She resides in a small town located along the East Coast, close to two horse farms and many local farms. Over the years Mary has shared her value of the importance of a home-cooked meal by volunteering as a cook for an area preschool that serves hot lunches to underprivileged and homeless children. More recently she has been a volunteer chef at the Homeless Shelter teaching residents how to cook budget-friendly meals and use what’s in the pantry. This homegrown chef also shares her cooking, healthy eating, and healthy living tips through regular posts on her blog www.marioochskitchen.com. An accomplished food photographer and food stylist, the blog also showcases Mary’s latest creations. Click here to order her book, “Mariooch’s Kitchen Food That Will Gather Your Family.”

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