Sunday, February 15, 2015

Hearty Vegetable Chowder

Hearty Vegetable Chowder

It's really freaking cold outside, and I live in the south.  You northerners have my respect because this cold weather is breaking me.  Especially since various illnesses have been passed around among my kids, and we're pretty much quarantined for at least one week out of ever month.  So needless to say, comfort food has been in great demand around these parts.

This chowder is definitely comforting, and it's reasonably healthy and quite filling and nourishing as well.  It's packed with veggies:  leeks, onions, carrots, celery, and potatoes.  The chowder is finished with a splash of half-and-half for a little richness, and some chives and lemon juice for freshness.  The vegetables are definitely the star here, with the half-and-half and finishing garnishes playing supporting roles.  The end result is supremely satisfying and comforting, and the leftovers reheat wonderfully, giving you a lunch to look forward to!

This is a pretty filling and substantial soup on it's own, but serving it with a nice light salad and flaky buttermilk biscuits makes a great meal out of it.  Here's to staying warm, healthy, and eating good soup!

Hearty Vegetable Chowder

Hearty Vegetable Chowder
adapted from Cook's Country
serves 4 to 6
  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only; halved lengthwise, sliced thin, and rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1/2 large onion)
  • 4 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 Tbs minced fresh chives, plus more for serving
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
Cook the bacon in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crispy, 7 to 9 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving the fat in the pot.  

Stir in the leeks, onion, carrots, celery, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and 1 teaspoon of salt.  Cook until the leeks are translucent and the vegetables are beginning to soften, about 8 minutes.  Add the potatoes and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook 30 seconds.

Add the broth and the bay leaf and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and and simmer until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Discard the bay leaf.  Transfer 2 cups of the liquid to a blender, and use a slotted spoon to transfer 1 cup of the vegetables to the blender as well.  Puree until smooth, about 1 minute (be sure to open the vent on your blender and cover it with a towel, to prevent explosions!).  

Stir the processed soup back into the pot, and then stir in the half-and-half, chives, and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Top each portion with a sprinkle of chives and the reserved bacon, and serve.


Josie said...

Oh, Josie, this cold is breaking me too! I can't do it anymore! I'm threatening to go to Texas until it passes!
Thanks for the congrats :)

Josie said...

Girl, it is NOT easy living in the northeast right now, let me tell you! Soups are the only thing getting me through. I think I'm going to have to try this sans bacon. Love the creaminess!

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