Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cheesy Veggie Chowdah

UPDATE: i just noticed that i said to simmer the chowder for 3-5 minutes. that should be 35 minutes!!! if you've already copied the recipe down, make that change!

I didn't make this recipe up, and I don't remember where I copied it from (probably my mom's 101 things to do with cheese cookbook from 1974). So if whoever invented this recipe is reading this, I'm not taking credit, and I'd cite you but I don't know who you are.


3 Tbs butter
1 large onion, finely chopped so your boyfriend doesn't know it's in there
1 large leek, chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 Tbs flour
6 cups vetable or fish broth or water, hot
3 carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 fennel bulb, diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
several sprigs fresh thyme
5-6 bay leaves
1 2/2 cups light cream (single cream to you brits)
2 1/2 cups really sharp cheddar cheese, grated

To make:
  • Melt butter on med-low heat in a very large pot
  • Add onion, leek, garlic. cook gently for 5 mins until translucent. do not brown.
  • Add flour, mix well with butter until all flour is incorporated and covers onion and leek like sticky paste
  • Increase heat under pot to high
  • Add a little of the hot broth and boil, stirring constantly. continue adding the broth in small increments, making sure the soup boils in between and all the previous addition is completely incorporated before adding more. (This is to ensure that the chowder is thick at the end process and the butter doesn't separate out.)
  • Add all the remaining ingredients except the cream and cheese.
  • Reduce heat back to med-low, cover, and simmer for 35 mins, stirring occassionally.
  • Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
  • Stir in cream. Simmer very low for 5 mins. Do not boil.

At this point you have 2 options. If you are serving the whole lot straight away (serves 6 generously) you can slowly add the grated cheese and incorporate it into the soup. If you are only serving a portion of it and want to keep the rest in the fridge for leftovers, ladel out the portion you are serving and sprinkle the cheese on top, in the individual bowls. This is becuase once you add the cheese the chowder doesn't keep well. It makes the texture all gross. So only add cheese to the quantity that will be eaten right away.

Serve this chowder hot with a crust of good, solid bread and glass of malty beer.

Tips: becuase this is such a simple recipe (really, it is. You only need one pot and the whole thing takes less than an hour start to finish), the outcome depends largely upon the quality of the ingredients. It is well worth it to go to a good organic grocery store and buy a block of organic cheddar that still has veins of mould through it. That is how cheese should be, and it will make a huge difference to your finished product. It is also well worth keeping a small pot of fresh tyme on your windowsill. Dried thyme doesn't have nearly the flavor, and you can't remove it after because it's in powder form, so it destroys the nice pure, creamy appearance of the chowder. And if you eat this chowder with stay-fresher-longer extra-sodiumbenzoate bread I will personally come and bludgeon you with a turnip.



Annie Rhiannon said...

God, that sounds good. Thank you.

Rimshot said...

What a coincidence! I just happen to have one pot.

And I've been bludgeoned with many an item, but never with a turnip!

Mmmmm, crusty bread and creamy, cheesy goodness. Yum! C.B., you're fast becoming my dream woman. You wouldn't have an older sister, would you?

GreatSheElephant said...

hmm. If you surreptitiously feed onion to someone who doesn't eat onion, you deserve to suffer whatever eruptions may ensue.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

annie: you're welcome. come on down to brizzle sometime and i'll make it for you.

rimshot: even after our deep, fundamental philosophical differences you'd do me just to eat my cooking? wow. it must really be true what they say about the route to a man's heart going through his stomach. or was that sarcasm, again? *scratches head*

gse: he likes the taste, it's the texture of onions he can't stand, so as long as i mince them finely enough so he doesn't crunch a piece of one he's happy. (and ironically, i'm the one who suffers from major G.I. onion-related side effects. I could knock a rhino unconscious with my, erm, aromas.)

Rimshot said...

CB, I'm not entirely certain that our fundamental philosophies are all that different, just coming at the questions from different angles. And, yes, I'd sample (if by sample we understand greedilly gobble down in a most vaccuum cleaner like manner) you cooking.

I'm suddenly feeling judged...should I be concerned?

First Nations said...

cb: I read, I drooled, I copied. I will now make (as soon as the gumbo and the barbecue are gone.)

GSE: could I interest you in a small ferryboat? half of a bugatti? how about a racing plane, vintage 1945? anyone? anyone?

Rimshot said...

er..that would be "YOUR cooking"...my typo above suggests an entirely different and most inappropriate alternative.

ziggi said...

still cooking over here then. . .

llewtrah said...

Looks yummers! Cheese is nice in soups - I love stilton and broccoli soup :)

GreatSheElephant said...

FN: no ta. But if you do find an Aston Martin, let me know.

CB - never slip me surreptitious onion. God no. Nor chillies.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

rimshot: nice freudian slip. :-D

fn: half a bougatti? nah. now, if you had 2/3 of a bougatti...

ziggi: she's cookin, she's hot, she's smokin'! (hopefully the cookin's not smokin.)

llewtrah: if you like stilton you have breath to match the Pirate's.

GSE: 'i slipped him the onion.' there's a euphamism if ever i heard one. god knows what for, though...

Billy said...

This is so getting cooked by me! Mmm...

Melissa said...

Can't wait to try it out - thanks for posting the recipe.

Lorna said...

Bring on the cheese, I say!

Dave said...

Thank you for your supportive comment at my place. Fortunately the object through which the stone had to pass is so enormous it didn't touch the sides.

(I couldn't put this comment up at my place, as some of my readers have tender sensibilities, and might have fainted with the shock. Or though I was being rude. Or something.)

Sal said...

now look what you've done -- i'm all hungry, now

Chaucer's Bitch said...

billy: hop to it, billy-boy!

mel: you're welcome

lorna: indeed! chese is critical.

dave: like a lone bean in a tin, i bet it rattled around. :)

SAL! where the fuck ya been, mate?

First Nations said...

half a bugatti. in several boxes. the canadians are a strange and cruel people, my children.

Da Nator said...

Mmm... sounds great! We are big on the veg & cheese around here, what with Mrs. Nator being a vegematarian. I'm going to show her this recipe right now...

Rimshot said...

I thought vegetabletarians didn't eat dairy. (?)

Sal said...

over there, in a box

Chaucer's Bitch said...

fn: *weeps*

da nator: i hope you enjoy it as much as i did.

rimshot: you're thinking of vegans. that's different.

sal: i hope you've got deodorant, lest you stink outside the box.