Adapted from Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen
My brother-in-law, Mark Ducey, has a talent for taking healthy recipes and turning them into something decidedly less so, but substantially more delicious. Here is his riff on Deborah Madison’s Winter Vegetable Chowder. To make it vegetarian, use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
1) Place in a saucepan:
- 3 cups milk or half & half
- 1 tsp. dried thyme.
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 12 black peppercorns
Bring to a boil then set aside to steep.
2) Wash, peel (as needed) and slice into ½-inch by 1 1/2 inch chunks:
- 4 large leeks
- 3 cups carrots
- 3 cups potatoes
- 3 cups parsnips
- 6 ribs celery
3) Heat ½ stick of butter in a large soup pot. Add veggies from step two, plus 2 bay leaves, 1 ½ tsp. thyme, ½ tsp. lavender, ½ tsp. tarragon. Heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4) Sprinkle the veggies with ¼ cup flour, toss, then add 4 cups chicken stock and 4 cups water. Cover and cook 20-25 minutes.
5) While veggies cook, melt some butter on a cast-iron griddle and grill slices of crusty bread on both sides. Place one slice in the bottom of each serving bowl and cover with grated gruyere.
6) When veggies are tender, strain milk from step 1 into a blender. Add 1 1/2 cups of veggies from the soup and puree. Return puree to pot.
7) Check soup and season to taste with salt and white pepper. Ladle over bread in bowls and serve.
Notes: Fresh herbs (quantity adjusted) would be better if available. I used whole milk; half and half would be better and whipping cream would be ideal. Should have garnished with fresh thyme sprigs if they were not under the snow.