Winter Vegetable Chowder

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.

 

Annual Meeting Root Soup

Steve Fowler, one of our FDC drivers, and his wife Molly brought this delicious soup to our annual meeting and it was a big hit! Here’s what they said about it: “We store a fair amount of vegetables every winter.  This is a recipe I came up with that goes great on a winter day and is easily adapted to what we have on hand – It turns out a little different every time, but is always worth the effort.  The following is just a guideline – use what you have.  It takes a couple of hours, but is easy, and you can walk away once everything is in the pot.

Start with:

2-3 onions (if you have leeks or shallots sitting in the back of the fridge, even better)
3 carrots,
2 celery stalks,
3-4 garlic
maybe a green pepper

Give them a rough chop and throw them in the pot with a good shot of olive oil – low heat and let them sweat while you prepare the rest.  Then peel and cube:

1 or 2 winter squash
2-3 Lbs. potatoes
2-3 Lbs. Sweet Potatoes
2 or 3 Celeriac Heads
1 Turnip or Rutabaga
3 or 4 Apples
A handful of herbs (dry or fresh – I like to use sage, rosemary, thyme)
A couple bay leaves

Add to the pot and just cover with water.  Bring to boil and turn back to a simmer until tender (about an hour).
Use a stick blender to puree (can be done in a food processor or mash for a course texture).
Salt and pepper to taste.
Add 1-2 cups cream or half & half.

Options:
Replacing some of the water with chicken stock or adding a couple handfuls of parmesan will make it a little richer, or if you save your cheese rinds – throw a couple in and remove right before pureeing.