Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pumpkin Chowder

I really like this recipe. I found it when I was browsing through Williams-Sonoma a couple years ago near the register. I used to cook this chowder using the bacon recommended in the recipe, but now have taken the bacon out. The vegetarian version is very good, but of course bacon gives it something extra special. I've done it as a butternut squash chowder (as in the original recipe) as well as a pumpkin chowder. Both are delicious!

Pumpkin Chowder (adapted from Williams-Sonoma)

What You Need
- 2 tbs. olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh sage, plus small sage leaves for garnish
- 4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
- 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
- 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 4 cups pumpkin (or butternut squash) puree
- 1/2 cup heavy cream

Optional: replace 2 tbs. olive oil with 4 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

What You Do
1. If you are using bacon: cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, until crispy, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Set aside. Pour off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat from the pan and return the pan to medium heat.
2. If no bacon: heat the olive oil.
3. Add the onion, celery, bay leaf, chopped sage, the 4 tsp. salt and the 1 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, just until the vegetables are soft, 5 to 6 minutes.
4. Stir in the potatoes, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.
5. Add the wine and simmer, stirring to scrape up the browned bits, for 1 to 2 minutes.
6. Add the broth and bring just to a boil.
7. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes.
8. Add the puree (and bacon if you are using it) and simmer for 5 minutes.
9. Stir in the cream and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
10. Remove the bay leaf and discard.
11. Ladle the chowder into warmed bowls and garnish with sage leaves. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Tip from Williams-Sonoma: Make the soup (withholding the cream) up to 1 day in advance. Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until just before serving time. When reheating the soup, stir in the cream.

Very filling and yummy!

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