Friday, December 11, 2009

Mary Engelbreit's 'Tis The Season Holiday Cookbook

Our cookbook for review today is a Christmas treat. Mary Engelbreit is a favorite writer and artist of my friend, Julie. Engelbreit is well-known for her whimsical art full of charm and vibrant colors. She is a self-proclaimed, "Queen of the Kitchen" even though she admits that her husband, Phil, is the chef in their house. This holiday cookbook has all of the sweetness and pop that you would expect of "Queen Mary".

If you don't cook much, but you enjoy Engelbreit's art, this would still be a great addition to your book shelf. If you do love to cook, you're in luck! This book, published in 2000 by Andrews McMeel Publishing is full of great recipes. Surprisingly, it isn't all about the cookies and fudge! There are actually more recipes for your dinner table during the holidays than there are recipes for sweets. This will be especially good news for those of you who have sugar restrictions. All of us have to continue to put meals on the table every evening, even amidst the hustle and bustle of shopping, school plays and other social events. Our sample recipe for today is a great "hurry-up and get back-out-the-door night" recipe for Corn Chowder. Oh, the ISBN, for those of you who might want to hunt this one down, is 0-7407-0586-5.

Page 28 Corn Chowder

5 slices bacon, cut cross-wise into 1/4" strips
1 large onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper, cleaned and diced
1 poblano pepper, cleaned and minced (Opt.)
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, to taste, minced
4 C chicken stock or two 14 1/2 oz. cans low-sodium chicken broth plus 1/3 C water
1 lb. Yukon Gold or all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
3 C fresh or thawed frozen corn
3/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp freshly-ground pepper, or to taste
3/4 C heavy cream
3 TBSP finely-chopped fresh cilantro

-In Dutch oven or large heavy pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels, leaving about 1 TBSP of bacon drippings in pot (pour off excess.)

-Add peppers and onions to the pot, stirring frequently, and cook until the onion is translucent. Add stock and potatoes and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and boil gently until potatoes are almost tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the corn and cook until the potatoes are tender but still hold their shape, about 5 minutes.

-Reduce the heat to low. Transfer about 1/2 C of the corn and potatoes, along with about 1/2 C of the broth, to a blender and puree until smooth. Return puree to the pot and stir until well-blended. Season with salt and pepper; stir in the cream and reserved crisp bacon. Heat the soup through (do not let boil). Stir in the cilantro and serve.

I will be at these recipe swaps today"


  1. I love Mary Engelbreit and will look for this cookbook. The chowder recipe is just what we need on this cold hilltop. I will definitely try it during the holidays--it sounds delicious!

  2. Wow, that chowder sounds yummy...soup is in high demand when the weather turns chilly at our house!

  3. I, too, love Mary Engelbreit's art and recipes! I'm going to put her cookbook on my wish list for Christmas! Thanks for the idea! (I've signed as a follower...come on over and visit me too when you have a moment!) Happy Foodie Friday! Coralie

  4. I love Campbell's Chicken Corn Chowder from a can-this has to be even better!

  5. Wow, heavy cream, it's got to be great.