Roasted Vegetable Chowder

January 15, 2009

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Vegetables for the roasting

Theory

This recipe was adapted(minimally) from Pinch My Salt.   It can be done with any assortment of autumn/winter vegetables.    The keys to great flavor are the bacon fat, the wine, and enough alliums(onions, leeks and garlic).  For texture,  the ratio of starchy vegetables(like potatoes, yams and squash) to less starchy ones(like broccoli, leeks and onions) are important.  Finally, for color you want to avoid too many yellow vegetables.  I’ve made this with both acorn and butternut squash, and I prefer the less sweet acorn squash.  If you do make it with the butternut, pick a small squash and make sure you have enough white vegetables to counteract the orange.  The vegetables can be chopped as coarsely as you like, however your roasting time will be longer, and a weak blender might not be able to handle the large pieces.

Ingredients

First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and start roasting the squash

  • Acorn squash, halved and deseeded
  • olive oil to coat
  • ground coriander, salt and freshly ground pepper

Next up, a roasting pan-ful of vegetables

  • Small head of cauliflower, coarsely chopped
  • Head of broccoli, coarsely chopped
  • Yam, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • Russet potato, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 leeks, cleaned well and sliced
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and with green centers removed
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped

Added to these

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp (dried) thyme
  • 1/2 tsp (dried) sage
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Roast in a 400 degree oven until tender – anywhere from 30 min to 2 hours, depending on how coarsely you chopped the vegetables.   Stir every 15-20 minutes to avoid burnt edges.

Next, fry up a mire-pois in bacon fat:

  • 1 tbsp leftover bacon fat
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped

Add the roasted vegetables and enough broth to allow you to puree the vegetables, washing the roasting pan in broth to get out all the flavor of the wine and herbs.

  • 3 cups chicken broth

After the vegetables are pureed, stir in

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup canned or (defrosted) frozen corn

And adjust salt and pepper to taste.  If it tastes too sweet, finish adjusting the salt and then add small amounts of lemon juice.  The soup freezes well – just reheat gently.

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