The weather is starting to get much cooler here at night now so Fall is not far away for us. It is still warm during the day, for the most part, but the nights have been crisp and cool. For me this means that it is time to start breaking out some soup recipes. Luckily, in the newest issue of Cook’s Country magazine, there was a great looking soup that was perfect to kick off the soup-making season for me. This vegetable chowder is very easy to make and makes good use of just a few simple ingredients.
Hearty Vegetable Chowder
6 slices bacon, chopped
1 pound leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin and washed thoroughly
4 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Cook the bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until the fat has rendered and the bacon is nearly crispy, about 7 to 9 minutes. Add the leeks, carrots, celery, thyme and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook until the leeks are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring constantly, until the starch begins to release from the potatoes and coat all the vegetables, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth and the bay leaf and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer the soup, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Transfer 1 cup of the vegetables (using a slotted spoon) and 2 cups of the soup broth to a blender; process until the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Stir the processed soup back into the pot. Stir in the half-and-half, chives and lemon juice and gently re-warm the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
There are a couple of things about this easy recipe. If you don’t have any leeks, I think you could easily substitute onions instead and not really lose anything. Leeks are great in a soup, but they are not always easy to get and can be a little pricey. Stirring in the potatoes really does make a difference here. The starch acts as a bit of a thickener here for the soup so that when you puree that bit of soup, you are going to end up with a nice, thick chowder. it was tasty and easy enough to make in under an hour on a weeknight all with ingredients I already had in the house. Even better, it’s a one pot meal and you could easily make it vegetarian by eliminating the bacon altogether if you want.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time to see what recipe I’ll be making. I have been checking a few things out in the latest issue of Cook’s Country and there are a bunch of things I want to try, so we’ll see what’s next. until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!