Saturday, January 17, 2009

Very Creamy Vegetable Chowder

OK I forgot to post on Thursday and Friday. I have been busy. Here is what we had on Thursday night. It was ok, but it wasn't even remotely special. It's a more vegetable-filled variation of the Very Creamy Potato-Cheese Soup, also from Moosewood. We would probably not make it again.


Very Creamy Vegetable Chowder
From Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special by The Moosewood Collective

This is a crowd-pleasing Moosewood standard. There is nothing more appealing and satisfying than a sweet, fresh vegetables in a smooth, saucy Cheddar and cream cheese base: it's food that makes you feel safe and sound and well cared for.

This soup is sweet and mild and filled with enough vegetables for one meal, so serve it with a peppery little salad for contrast.

2 cups chopped onions
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon canola or other vegetable oil
2 celery stalks, diced
1 cup peeled and diced carrots
1 1/2 cups diced potatoes
3 cups water or Basic Light Vegetable Stock
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup diced red bell peppers
1 cup diced zucchini
1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 cups milk
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
2 ounces Neufchatel or cream cheese

In a large soup pot on medium heat, sauté the onions in the butter and oil for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the celery, cover, and cook until just soft, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots, potatoes, water or stock, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil; then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes. With a strainer or slotted spoon, remove about 1 1/2 cups of the cooked vegetables and set aside in a blender or food processor.

Add the green beans, bell peppers, and zucchini to the soup pot and cook until the green beans are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and parsley, simmer for 2 more minutes, and then remove from the heat. Discard the bay leaf.

Puree the reserved vegetables with the milk and cheeses to make a smooth sauce. Stir the sauce into the soup and gently reheat. Serve hot.

Yield: 8-10 servings

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