The making of our award winning chowda for Canines! We were lucky enough to be chosen by Mayor Joanne Yepsen's dog Sasha as this years Chowdown Championchowda mayor 2016! We faced tough competition from Milton Manor but 2016 was our year ( for the 4th time in 9 years of competition! The trophy will be on display here at Impressions till next year.

winner 2016

Chowderfest is a wonderful event celebrating it's 18th year and is organized by the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau

This year’s Chowderfest entry was named to celebrate Pupa’s birthday – which happened to be the day before Chowderfest! I love to cook so playing with the recipe is great fun each year!!!

The Chowda starts out every year with meat that I have quite a bit of, normally venison supplied by Dave and his band of hunter friends! I then add other meats, stocks, and veggies that have been well liked over the years. In short, the Chowda changes every year depending on what’s readily available! My method is a mixture of many methods so adjust to fit your own preference!chowda cooking 2011

All the meats and veggies are purchased at one of our two farmers markets!

For this year’s Chowda, I started with some venison steaks (about 2 lbs.) and some bone in cuts of beef (about 4 lbs.). I cubed the venison but left the beef whole and browned it all in a Dutch oven in a bit of drizzled olive oil. Onions I’ve been told are not good for dogs (the skins can cause belly problems) so I use onion powder, garlic salt, and some fresh ground pepper. I sautéed this till it all has a nicely browned exterior and a little of it sticks to the bottom of the pan. I may add a bit more olive oil as needed. Once the meat is nice and dark brown colored - remove it from the pan and chowda 2016cube the beef and set it aside. I place the cubed meat into a larger 5 gallon soup pot and add enough broth to cover.

I add some water to the Dutch oven and let it simmer till the crusty stuff from the bottom of the pan comes loose. Add this liquid to the soup pot, it adds a rich brown color to the base! I will add about 4 cubes of Knorr’s beef bouillon as well.

I then browned about 3 lbs. of ground venison using the same procedure as above; removing the nicely browned meat to the soup pot, adding water to the Dutch oven, simmering till all the brown bits loosen and add it to the pot!

I happened to have about 2 lbs. of a basic pulled pork (no sauce added) left over in the freezer - defrosted it and added it to the magic pot!

Add enough stock to cover all the meat and have about 3” of liquid above the meat.

I added a half a bag of barley, a bag of frozen baby peas, and 6 large carrots peeled and cubed to about ½” pieces to the magic pot. I simmer this till the barley is cooked through and the veggies softened.

I then added about 2 lbs. each of cubed butternut squash and 1 big can of organic pumpkin (I couldn’t get a fresh one at the farmers market) and simmer till softened.V Day Treats

Through this entire process I add stock as needed and give Cookie and Pupa a taste to make sure it meets with their approval!

Once the Chowda is the correct consistency, nice and meaty with just enough liquid, let it cool to room temp or slightly above . Scoop out a nice portion and top it off with a nice treat! We use the yummy, homemade biscuits from The Bread Basket.

chowda shelter 2016

This made roughly 6 gallons of Chowda so you can decrease the ingredients accordingly! You can also use just one meat or use poultry instead! You can delete the barley or substitute it with rice, potatoes or even pasta. Veggies can also be changed based on your dogs’ tastes. Apples would be a nice addition too, the skies the limit. Let your cooking creativity run wild! I always hope to make enough so all of the Impressions dogs (Hercules, Smalls, Smitty, Sophia, Cookie and Pupa) get some for dinner that night!

Each year we have used our chowda sales dollars to help the Friends of the Saratoga County Animal Shelter continue their very worthwhile efforts on behalf of our Saratoga County Animal Shelter animals. Thanks Sandy, Donna, Jennifer, Jason and Jane for all your help on this very fun day!!!

 

Have fun and enjoy,

Mare Barker

Pupa and Cookie's Mom