November 1, 2013

This Week in Soup...Another Homerun! Sweet Potato, Mushroom and Gouda Chowder

Okay, okay, I know…ANOTHER soup recipe. But you've got to ride this soup train with me because it is just so damn delicious! Seriously people, I am on a roll here. So try another soup with me and, I promise, I'll recommend some books or wax poetic about something not in my le creuset next week. Deal? Okay. So…

Sweet Potato, Mushroom and Gouda Chowder.

If you like mushrooms, this is heaven in a bowl! I kid you not. My husband, who is not a mushroom fan, liked this soup. I, who am a mushroom lover, drooled over it. (I am pretty sure I moaned while eating it.) Absolutely delicious. As good or better than anything of the like that I've had in great restaurant. Take a nice piece of crusty, fresh, bakery bread and dredge it through your bowl…oh. so. good.

Bon appe-freakin'-tit, baby.

(photo from ahintofhoney.com)

Sweet Potato, Mushroom and Gouda Chowder (adapted from ahintofhoney.com)
6 slices bacon, diced
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 lb mushrooms, sliced (I used half shitakes, half button; original recipe called for cremini; use what you like)
2 large sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs.), peeled and cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 1/2+ cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 to 1 cup half and half
4 oz. gouda, cubed or shredded
salt and pepper to taste

In large pot or dutch oven, cook the diced bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon and set aside. Add the diced onions and mushrooms to the bacon drippings in the pot. Season with a little salt and pepper and cook until the moisture released from the mushrooms evaporates and the vegetables begin to brown, about 10 minutes. (If desired, add 1/4 cup white wine to deglaze the pan before continuing. I plan to do this next time I make this recipe, but did not this time (I only had red open! I know, tragedy!).)

Add the cubed sweet potatoes and minced garlic, stirring to combine. Add the thyme, bay leaf and stock (I think I used about 3 cups of organic chicken stock. Just eyeball-it. But make sure there's enough in the pot to cook your potatoes.) Cook until sweet potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Return most of the bacon to the pot, leaving a little extra to garnish when serving. Remove the bay leaf. Puree as much or as little of the soup as you want in a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender. (I pureed about a third of the soup in my blender.) Return the pureed soup to the pot.

Add the half and half and gouda. (I used the full cup of half and half, which added a lot of richness. Next time I'll likely add about a half cup then taste and add more as desired. I just cubed the gouda and added it to the pot. If you want it to melt faster, shred your gouda.) Simmer until the soup has heated through and the cheese is melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm, garnished with a sprinkle of bacon and a side of LOTS of yummy bakery bread. (You know I had a whole loaf of sour dough!!) Enjoy! Serves 4-6.

P.S. I will admit that this is not necessarily the most kid-friendly recipe…mushrooms are not a widely adored kid food. But my daughter did eat some of the sweet potatoes in the broth. I just picked around the mushrooms when I served hers up. Still, I'd consider this more of an adult flavor profile. So throw some chicken nuggets in the oven for the kids while this one bubbles away on the stove.

Until next time, happy cooking!





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