It’s February. We’ve had snow since October 3rd. We have another 2 months of snow to go. If I wanted to, I could get quite depressed about that fact. The winter doldrums are fighting hard for our attention. But we’re fighting back by taking swimming lessons, building snowmen, sitting on the front porch when the sun is shining to soak up every bit of vitamin D we can, and of course making soup. I don’t really make soup in the summer, so I console myself by saying that all this cold and snowy weather means I can have soup for that much longer!
This chowder is choc-full of veggies giving it the lightness of springtime but the comforting warmth of winter. Just the thing to lift the spirits and look forward to warmer days.
The next time I make this soup I’ll probably try it with some diced ham thrown in, in place of the bacon, only for the fact that I think it would go beautifully with this soup and it’s always nice to change things up a bit. I’ve learned one thing in making soup, if the recipe calls for chicken stock don’t try and substitute it with chicken broth, it won’t be nearly so flavourful. So go for the dark, rich stuff here.
Cut up the remainder of the veggies for easy snacking the rest of the week. For a meatless soup omit the bacon and use veggie stock in place of chicken stock.
- 4 strips bacon, diced
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup diced carrot
- 1 cup diced zucchini
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
- 1 cup peeled and diced Yukon Gold potatoes
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper, to taste
Cook bacon, in a medium-sized saucepot set over medium heat, until crispy. Remove the bacon to paper towels to drain. Add onion, celery and carrots to the fat in the pot, cook until softened. Add zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, and red bell pepper; cook just until starting to soften. Scrape vegetables into a medium sized bowl and set aside.
Add the butter to the pot. Once melted, stir in flour. Cook until you can smell a slightly nutty aroma. Slowly whisk in chicken stock, in small additions, until well incorporated and mixture is smooth. Slowly whisk in milk. Return the vegetables you had set aside to the pot, along with corn, potatoes, thyme, oregano, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot and continue to simmer until the potatoes are tender. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove bay leaf and stir in in bacon, to serve.
Adapted from Fresh with Anna Olson.