SAVE YOR’ ASS POTATO CHOWDER
So, you’ve got folks coming for dinner. Lots of ’em. Just for good measure, it’s the holidays and the wallet looks a bit too skinny for roast beast. Factor in some parent exhaustion, a car that needs to be cleaned out before someone calls “Hoarders: The Van Edition” and laundry in at least three stages of not done (half-folded, still in the washer and wrinkling in the dryer). Do you:
A) Grab a bottle of vino and sing eighties songs in the tub?
B) Call, cancel, clean the house and eat cold pizza while watching CSI?
C) Spend sixty bucks on a roast plus fixins, mutter on about f-ing company and wear yourself plum out? (Option C has a “wild card” clause that allows for later stripping oneself nekkid and streaking through your neighborhood while hollerin’ out lines from Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” I suppose it just depends on where you plan to sleep that night.)
D) Save Yor’ Ass?
Now, any of these options are viable, depending on your mood, energy level and current state of sanity or lack thereof. As a Southerner and a Kitchen Witch, I am loathe to either commit a rude act (such as cancel at the last minute) or run on all Skyclad through the burbs–lessen I had a torch and a horse. And bail money. I reckon I can always enact A, as this option is often played out in my home at the drop of a blue bonnet and my dogs do love an eighties serenade. This leaves D, wherein I work some, drink some, save a little cash and comfort rumbly bellies like Paula Deen slathering butter on . . . whatever.
Let’s Save Yor Ass, shall we?
Gather up the following (and try to keep these items handy as a good Kitchen Witch):
A five pounder of Yukon Golds, two large yellow onions (Vidalia if you can get your hands on them), one bag frozen corn, one can creamed corn, one tall (pint) carton of heavy cream, two cartons of chicken stock (not broth), a handful of chicken bouillon cubes, fresh minced garlic, fresh thyme tied in a bunch (if possible), dried thyme, two tablespoons bacon grease, one stick of butter (I up this when I’m feeling reckless), one tablespoon smoked paprika, salt/pepper/sugar (my holy trinity) and some toppers like crumbled bacon and/or chopped scallions.
That was exhausting. Time for a glass of wine, turn up your music like the SKW taught you and ground yourself. Guard your mind against any wayward thoughts, such as unpaid bills, dog pee on the carpet or a dusty, unused treadmill. Kick that shit out and tell yourself to have fun. Shake it off, slap it down and let’s get it on.
Rinse (or “wrench, as my Granma used to say) your taters well. Chop into nice-sized chunks, cover with water and plop in a few chicken bouillon cubes. Boil till tender. (While you wait, remember to dance in your kitchen. If you have the option, put on a little Bob Seger and white socks and slide around with an air guitar. Sing to the dog. Headbang. Sip wine.)
When tender, drain taters and mash slightly. In an iron skillet, melt one stick of butter, add onions, saute till tender and add garlic for one minute more. Burned garlic is anti-conducive to both kitchen witchery and warding off vampires. Pour chicken stock over taters, add corn (both) and slide buttered onion concoction on in. Slide in a few chicken bouillon cubes that have been mashed and liquified with a touch of water. (This is important, as these are salty and we need a clear path on our salt level.) Add bacon grease, a whole carton of cream, smoked paprika, salt/pepper/sugar and taste. (Now, we’ve had this conversation before: this is a process. I always add about a half of a tablespoon of sugar to EVERYTHING but–if you are just getting started, go slow.) Continue to taste and add your Southern Holy Trinity until satisfied, nice and easy. You can add more, but you can’t take it out. Plop in thyme, both fresh and dried varieties. Simmer twenty minutes. Before serving up to folks, consider your toppings. Serve with crusty, buttered bread and fresh sliced maters.
The whole shabang should cost you roughly an hour to two, leaving plenty of time for a nice, hot bath, a bottle of whatever libation you hanker on and at least two albums of your choosing for the bathroom karaoke throwdown. Yor’ Ass, Saved. Southern Style.
One last word of warning: remember to sober up before the company shows, lessen you still want to enact C’s wild card clause with an audience. To each their own. I personally never did mind a little show.