Pass the P.E.I. potatoes please

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I believe we are connected by our food, across the region but also across the country — and even further.

We have the ability to help out in bad situations, and right now P.E.I. potatoes have a minor agricultural problem that has big international and political ramifications.

On November 22, the Canadian minister of agriculture decided to temporarily ban the export of P.E.I. potatoes to the U.S., a move to appease our U.S. trading partner. That’s some $120 million possibly taken out of the P.E.I. economy – affecting many farmers and people on the Island.

But the potatoes are fine and you can eat them as usual, according to the P.E.I. Potato Board. So, if you can, eat P.E.I. potatoes as part of your diet that also supports local growers.

Crispy potatoes from PEI are good (

The Potato Board sent along the following recipe and they note, quoting Stompin’ Tom Connors on P.E.I. spuds: “the best dog gone potatoes that’s ever been growed.”

So in the spirit of Stompin’ Tom, here’s a lovely chowder recipe using P.E.I. potatoes.

Potato, Bacon, Potato Chowder

5 slices bacon, roughly chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery sticks, small dice
1 carrot, small dice
1 bay leaf
4 medium red skin potatoes (about 1 lb), cut into 1-inch chunks
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1/3 cup 35% cream
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
2 tbsp chives, finely chopped

Heat a large heavy bottomed bottom pot over medium heat. Add bacon and let cook for 5 – 7 minutes to render out fat and crisp, once crispy remove 1/3 of the bacon and transfer to a paper towel lined plate, set aside.

Add butter and onion and let cook for 3- 4 minutes, until softened and translucent, season with salt and pepper. Add garlic, celery and carrots, cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Add potatoes, bay leaf, chicken stock and water bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce heat to a simmer.

Cook for 15 – 20 minutes uncovered, until potatoes are tender. Add corn kernels, let cook 1 minute. Remove pot from the heat, stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowl and garnish with reserved bacon, parsley and chives.

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