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The Full Yield Blog

Winter Vegetable Chowder

December 20, 2010 | Tags: Deborah Madison , Food , Vegetables | Post comment

Winter Vegetable Chowder

This is a wonderful soup, one that’s light but sustaining and full of flavor. The milk is steeped with aromatics and the vegetables are cooked in water or, if you prefer, chicken stock. The whole thing is ladled over cheese covered toast which falls apart and thickens the soup. Take the time to peel and cut each vegetable with care, leaving the pieces large and well-shaped.  You can give the soup body by pureeing two- to-three cups of the finished soup and adding it back to the pot.  The addition of leftover cooked squash, should you have some, is welcome too for body, flavor and color.

1. The Milk

2 cups milk, preferably 2%
3 large parsley branches
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1/2 onion, sliced
10 peppercorns, lightly crushed
5 juniper berries lightly crushed, if available

Put everything in a saucepan, bring nearly to a boil then turn off the heat. Cover and set aside while you prepare the vegetables.

2. The Soup

2 tablespoons butter
2 large leeks, the white parts only, cleaned, then chopped or sliced about 1-inch thick
10 cups winter vegetables, such as turnips, carrots, celery and/or celery root, rutabagas, parsnip, peeled and cut in large handsome pieces
3 boiling potatoes, about 12 ounces, peeled and cut into sixths
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
5 cups water or low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 to 6 large pieces of toasted whole grain sourdough or other bread
grated Gruyère cheese, 1- 2 tablespoons per serving
chopped parsley or tarragon to finish

Melt the butter in a soup pot over low heat. Add the all the vegetables, bay leaves, parsley, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, turning the vegetables every so often.  Add the water or stock; bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.

3. Combine

Pour the prepared milk through a strainer right into the soup. Taste for salt and season with pepper. If you wish to give the soup more body, puree about 2 to 3 cups of the vegetables with the liquid and add back to the soup pot.  To serve, lay a piece of toast in each bowl, cover it with grated cheese, spoon the soup on top and sprinkle with parsley.

Serves 6 or more