Mushroom and Potato Chowder

by Cate on August 3, 2007

I’m not a big worshipper of the belief that only certain foods should be made in certain times of the year. Sure the colder months are the perfect “soup season,” but who says you can’t enjoy it in the summertime too? Not I. I follow my taste buds and throw those silly rules out the window … and followed them right to a big pot of chowder tonight.I actually bought the ingredients for the chowder a week ago, but tonight provided the perfect opportunity to make it. The movie Underdog opened tonight and Nicholas has been desperately awaiting its arrival, so the boys caught a movie (along with The Girlfriend and The Neighbor Husband), and since I knew they wouldn’t care for the soup, it was the ideal supper for me.

I know you’re going to find this as shocking as my recent mango revelation, but I’ve never made anything with leeks before. Barring that unchartered territory, the recipe is super simple to make and the perfect way to spend an evening, summer or not. Rich with the addition of chicken broth, and creamy, but not heavy, with the half-and-half, it’s packed with veggies and velvety smooth as it goes down. I tinkered with the recipe and love, love, love it. This is a definite keeper, no matter the season.

A year ago today… what a cutie.
Two years ago today… a super simple weeknight pasta.

Mushroom and Potato Chowder
Originally a Taste of Home recipe, then modified by a CLBB member, and then me

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced leek (used 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup butter (used 3/4 of a stick)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups chicken stock
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 cup chopped celery (skipped)
1 cup diced peeled potatoes (used 1-1/4 cup and didn’t peel)
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 cup half-and-half cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (used Pecorino Romano)

In a large skillet, sauté onion and leeks in butter until tender. Add flour, salt, pepper and thyme; stir to make a smooth paste. Gradually add stock; stirring constantly. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute.

Add the mushrooms, celery, potatoes and carrots. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add cream and Parmesan cheese; heat through.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Notes: I also added 1/4 cup grated Colby Jack as a topping – what can I say? I’m on a cheese kick lately.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous August 4, 2007 at 3:19 am

I adore soups with leek and potato, they are so hearty and satisfying! Did Nicholas enjoy Underdog?

Ari (Baking and Books)

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Claire August 4, 2007 at 3:57 am

I’ve never used leek (or fennel) either and want to! Hope the guys enjoyed Underdog. I went to see No Reservations with a friend and it was really cute. It’s based on Mostly Martha, if you’ve ever seen that.

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Cate August 4, 2007 at 2:52 pm

Ari – he did! Already has his eyes set on the new Bratz movie. ;)

Claire – Glad to hear the movie was good. I want to see that one. Just saw an episode of Unwrapped where they went behind the scenes of the food aspect of the movie – interesting stuff.

Re: leeks. Rachael Ray had a good tip about them. They tend to be dirty little suckers and hold the dirt in between their many layers. When you chop, put them in a bowl with water and swish around a bit and the dirt will fall to the bottom. :)

My mom makes a great fennel salad – I think it was just olive oil, salt and pepper. I’ll have to ask her for the deets.

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Kelly Mahoney August 4, 2007 at 5:59 pm

Looks great and congratulations on your new baby!

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Cate August 4, 2007 at 8:45 pm

Kelly – New baby? If you mean Nicholas, he’s 5 now and as he tells me all the time … “I’m not a baby anymore, Mama!” :)

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Truffle August 5, 2007 at 2:01 am

This sounds delicious and hearty. Perfect for the colder weather we’re having here at the moment although I imagine it’s the sort of recipe you’d enjoy all year.

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Anonymous August 6, 2007 at 1:41 am

Cate,

I made the chowder and really enjoyed it. You say you and a CLBB member made a couple of changes, I am assuming one of the changes was the leeks. You need to add the leeks to your instructions as my soup was almost finished cooking and the leeks were still sitting in the salad spinner!!! Nevertheless, I added them and the soup in wonderful.

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Kelly August 6, 2007 at 2:03 am

I am coming out of the buttercream sugar coma following my daugter’s 4th birthday yesterday, and this chowder appears to be the perfect antidote. Can’t wait to try it! And can’t wait to see Underdog.

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Cate August 6, 2007 at 3:17 am

Truffle – perfect for dinner on its own. :)

Kelly – I hear you on the buttercream haze. We had 4 cakes this week, and I’m definitely good for awhile. :)

Anonymous – glad you liked the chowder. Thanks for the heads up on the leeks. I noticed the omission when I made the recipe and forgot to add it in when I typed it up. Fixed now. I added it in with the onions, but works fine at the end too.

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Kristen August 6, 2007 at 4:40 am

This looks delicious!I can’t seem to make soup in the summer. You can bet I will be bookmarking this for fall!

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Kelly Mahoney August 6, 2007 at 4:29 pm

How hearty, yum! I’ll have to save this until winter, it’s a little too heavy for the desert summer, but it looks delicious.

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Madeline August 6, 2007 at 9:56 pm

Since you are a leek fan, you should try RR’s Leek-y Chicken with couscous. It’s super good.

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Nicole August 7, 2007 at 8:29 am

Hi,
I was just tagged by another foodie in regards to 8 random facts about myself, and I’m supposed to pass it on. I thought it’d be interesting to find out more about you! You can find the rules at my post here:
http://forfood.rezimo.com/?p=358

I hope you join in!

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