Martina McBride Shares Recipes from New Book

Southwestern Corn Chowder
Serves 10 to 12

8 slices thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon, cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 fresh, small poblano chilies, seeded and cut into 1⁄4-inch dice
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
11⁄2 teaspoons ground cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
11⁄2 cups dry white wine or chicken stock
11⁄2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
6 cups low- sodium chicken stock
31⁄2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (about 12 ears if using fresh)
1 cup heavy cream
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish

Corn chowder is such a satisfying soup. Creamy and savory, it hits the spot. I like this version’s Southwestern take.

1. Cook the bacon 6 to 8 minutes in a large Dutch oven, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Drain the fat, reserving 4 tablespoons.

2. Add the reserved bacon fat and onion to the Dutch oven and cook over medium heat for 4 minutes, or until tender. Add the bell pepper, celery, and chilies and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the salt, cumin, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Increase the heat to high and add the wine. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Add the potatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in the corn.

4. In a medium bowl, combine the cream and flour, stirring with a whisk to create a slurry. Add the slurry to the Dutch oven and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in the cilantro. Garnish with cilantro and reserved bacon pieces, crumbled.

Autumn chopped salad
Serves 6

The Balsamic–Poppy Seed Dressing (recipe follows) has a pleasant tanginess that is a nice change of pace from the usual super sweet poppy seed dressings, plus it balances the sweetness of the dried cherries and pears. I dress the salad very lightly and offer more of the dressing for guests to add at the table if they wish.

• 3 romaine hearts, chopped (about 8 cups)
• 2 small Red Bartlett pears, chopped 3⁄4 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
• 3⁄4 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
• 6 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
• 1⁄2 cup crumbled feta cheese
• 1⁄2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
• Balsamic–Poppy Seed Dressing

1. Combine the lettuce, pears, cherries, pecans, bacon, feta, and parsley on a large platter or in a large bowl. Serve with the Balsamic–Poppy Seed Dressing.

Tip: Have you ever noticed that when you toss a salad all the good stuff (in this case the fruit, nuts, cheese, and bacon) goes to the bottom of the bowl? I like to toss the chopped lettuce with the dressing and then add the rest of the ingredients on top. It’ s really pretty that way and it ensures that everyone gets a little of everything on their salad plate. This salad is pretty enough to bring to the table to serve.

Balsamic–poppy seed dressing
Makes 1 cup

• 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
• 1⁄3 cup sugar
• 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 1 tablespoon grated yellow onion
• 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
• 2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 2⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Combine the poppy seeds, sugar, balsamic vinegar, onion, garlic, mustard powder, salt, and pepper in a food processor, pulsing 3 times. With the food processor running, gradually add the olive oil through the feed tube, blending until incorporated.

2. Pour the dressing into a screw-top jar and store in the refrigerator. When ready to use, shake to recombine.

Spiced zucchini bread
Makes two 9-inch loaves

This bread is so yummy! Check it with a toothpick after 50 minutes and then keep checking it until the toothpick comes out clean. Emma and I like ours cold with butter on it! My girls don’t care for nuts in bread, but if you do, simply add 1 cup of toasted pecans or walnuts when you add the zucchini. This is another recipe that you may wish to double for a crowd.

• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon ground allspice
• 11⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
• 11⁄2 cups granulated sugar
• 1 cup packed light brown sugar
• 11⁄2 cups vegetable oil
• 3 large eggs
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 2 teaspoons lemon zest
• 21⁄2 cups coarsely grated zucchini (about 2 medium)

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour two 9 × 5-inch metal loaf pans.

2. Combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, allspice, and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Whisk the granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest in a large bowl to blend. Stir the flour mixture into the sugar mixture. Stir in the zucchini and walnuts, if desired. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.

3. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the breads comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Then turn the loaves out onto a wire rack and let them cool completely.