I absolutely love chowder. According to my chef husband, a soup must only include potatoes to be called a chowder. Okay, but in my book, chowder must also include cream. That’s right, Manhattan Clam Chowder lovers–I said your chowder was merely a soup. Sorry.
This chowder recipe takes advantage of the plethora of root vegetables in season right now. Since not all of them are well known, I’ve included a picture of these vegetables in their raw form. Note that turnips in the grocery store will be round and not oblong like these misshapen turnips, which are from our garden. (Note #2: I didn’t plant these turnips until early August. They are a great fast-growing, second crop to plant and get the most out of your garden.) One more thing, I didn’t use the beet in the picture (I wasn’t sure about pink chowder).
This recipe utilizes a crock pot and is a great dish to let simmer on low while you are away at work. Of course, it could just as easily be cooked in a large pot on the stove with an occasional stir.
Recipe for Root Vegetable Chowder Serves 6.
Set your crock pot to high and pour in:
32 oz. low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1 qt. heavy cream
In a large saute pan over medium-low heat, start sauteeing:
1/2 lb. bacon, roughly chopped
While the bacon is sauteeing, chop up:
1 large onion
5 cloves garlic
Add the onion and garlic to the bacon and sautee until aromatic. Now, push these to the side in the pan and add:
1 lb. flaky fish fillets, such as cod, or whatever fish you like
As the fish cooks, break it up with your spatula and mix it in with the bacon, garlic and onion. Once the fish is all broken up, transfer the pan’s contents to your crock pot.
Chop/slice into 1/2-inch pieces and add to the crock pot:
2 carrots, peeled
1 celery root, peeled
2 turnips, peeled
3 parsnips, peeled
2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. marjoram
2 bay leaves
Keep lid on until contents starts to bubble then remove lid and reduce heat to low. Let cook until vegetables have reached their desired tenderness and broth has reduced some, several hours.
If you would like your chowder thicker, remove a couple ladles worth of broth to a saucepan, trying to avoid any chunks. Over medium heat, add a tablespoon at a time:
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
Stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the paste that develops is a rich golden brown. Mix back into the chowder.*
Salt & pepper to taste.
*Ordinarily one would stir the flour into melted butter to use it as a thickening agent. In this case the broth is already so rich that it works very well for this purpose. Also, if you don’t brown your flour before adding it to the chowder, it will give the chowder a pasty taste.