Monday, December 7, 2009

Cheese and Vegetable Chowder

This is, without a doubt, my favorite soup of all time. Seriously. It is good with store bought stock, but I highly recommend buying an organic, free range chicken if you can find a decently priced one (I go to Sprouts), and making your own stock that morning. Then you just use the stock that night for dinner. The reason I go through the trouble is for the massive health benefits from one single recipe and made all in one pot: Broth is Beautiful (recipe included).

Cheese and Vegetable Chowder
2 T. butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large leek, split lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
6 T. whole wheat pastry flour
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 turnip, finely diced
1 large potato, finely diced
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/8 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1½ cups light cream or half-and-half
10½ oz. mature Cheddar cheese, grated
fresh chopped parsley, to garnish
salt and pepper

  1. Melt the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan or stockpot over a medium-low heat. Add the onion, leek and garlic. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables start to soften.
  2. Stir the flour into the vegetables and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Add a little of the stock and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pan to mix in the flour. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and slowly stir in the rest of the stock.
  3. Add the carrots, celery, turnip, potato, thyme and bay leaf. Reduce the heat, cover and cook gently for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaf and the thyme branches.
  4. Stir in the cream and simmer over a very low heat for 5 minutes. Add the cheese a handful at a time, stirring constantly for 1 minute after each addition, to make sure it is completely melted. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, adding salt if needed, and pepper to taste. Ladle immediately into warm bowls, sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and serve.

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