Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cheese and Vegetable Chowder

This soup is so lovely.  The vegetables are the star, but the nutrition is boosted by all the homemade stock, cream and cheese in the background.  This is perfect for our family, since we are fighting off the sniffles.  My E and M slurped their bowls up with gusto tonight before going to bed a little earlier than usual.  I hope they heal a little as they sleep.  

Read about how the healing properties of homemade bone broth here.  I had a lot of stock on hand from Thanksgiving when I made turkey stock.  After making a double recipe of this soup, I still have two large containers of stock left in my fridge!  

(I will probably make tomato cream soup later this week, and I will post the recipe when I do.  Plus, I have another turkey I need to roast soon, so I'll have even more stock to make nourishing soups with.  This is very important at this time of year when our immune systems can take a beating, and we don't get as many vitamins from the sun.) 

Cheese and Vegetable Chowder
4-6 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large leek, split lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
6 T. sprouted whole grain flour
5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
3 carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 turnip, peeled and finely diced
several large broccoli florets, chopped
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/8 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1½ cups raw cream or half-and-half
10½ oz. mature raw Cheddar cheese, grated
fresh chopped parsley, to sprinkle on top
salt and pepper

  1. Melt the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan or stockpot over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and leek. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables start to soften.  Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes, taking care it doesn't burn.
  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, broccoli, 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. Add the cheese a few handfuls at a time, stirring constantly for about a 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. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream until warmed through.  Ladle immediately into warm bowls, sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and serve.  

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