This week’s installment of Queens Eats brings you a double-header, of sorts: a delicious recipe for Potato Cheddar Soup and a culinary fieldtrip to hipster haven Williamsburg.
This recipe is a loose follow-up to what a friend of mine has now dubbed my “ode to a Crock Pot,” or my recipe for Braised Short Rib Pappardelle utilizing - you guessed it - a Crock Pot.
The winter months are the perfect time to make warm, delicious recipes in a slow cooker and, thus, on a recent trip to T.J. Maxx, I picked up the cookbook, “Slow Cooker Winning Recipes,” which is chock full of Crock Pot-worthy delights.
My advice is to make this recipe when you have time to spare. The potatoes and other veggies get incredibly soft when cooked for six to seven hours over low-heat. If your need to run out, you can always make the base of the soup one day, then refrigerate overnight, reheat and add the half-and-half and cheese the next day. This recipe yields a hearty, cheesy, potato-ey soup for fans of all three.
Call me a slacker, or hipster-averse, but I have a confession to make: after living in New York for the better part of a decade, I only recently ventured into that trendy nexus of all things hipster-related known as Williamsburg. My impression is that it may have more hip shops, restaurants and bars than many parts of Queens, but I’m still partial to my beloved borough.
Still, in keeping with my New Year’s resolution to explore more of the city and to eat at more New York magazine recommended restaurants, this past Saturday two dining companions and I ate at a quaint eatery called Allswell. The restaurant boasts menus that change daily, vintage-inspired cocktails and a general retro vibe.
We sampled the ricotta with chili bread (very tasty, although I think I got some of the chili pepper in my eye), chicory and beet salad with goat cheese (good, although no more than usually so) and lamb meatballs with hummus and flatbread (very yummy - my dining companion who is not a fan of lamb scarfed them down). My final verdict is that Allswell serves up yummy fare in a pleasant environment, but would be more palatable at Queens’ prices.
Potato Cheddar Soup (Source: Slow Cooker Winning Recipes)
2 lbs. new red potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ in. cubes (I used regular Idaho potatoes)
¾ cup coarsely chopped carrots
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 cups chicken broth
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup half-and-half
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1. Place potatoes, carrots, onion, both and salt in slow cooker. Cover, then cook on low six to seven hours or high three to 3.5 hours or until vegetables are tender.
2. Stir in half-and-half and pepper. Cover; cook on high 15 minutes. Turn off heat and remove cover, let stand five minutes. Stir in cheese until melted.