Good Monday morning to you! I’ve spent a heck of a lot of time shivering in freezing ice rinks lately, so I’ve got soup on the brain. And thankfully, that means there will also be soup in my belly because once I start thinking about soup, I’ve just got to have it! With all the unsettled weather we’ve been experiencing around the country, I’m thinking you’ve been doing your fair share of shivering too, so why not start out the week with a big warming pot of Potato Chowder? Couldn’t you go for some right now?
This is what I think of as a lunch soup— I mean, sure, you could totally eat it for a light dinner, along with a salad and some crusty bread but unlike some potato soups, this version is light and just a little bit creamy, not one of those meal-in-a-bowl soups (not that I’m knocking those, I love them, this just isn’t that). That’s because the creaminess mostly comes from the breakdown of the starch of the potatoes, not from tons of added cream or cheese—there’s only a 1/2 cup of milk for the whole pot. So what comes through with every bite is the earthiness of the boiled potatoes and the mild tang of the onion, leeks, shallot and garlic. So much flavor and texture!
And warmth! Can’t forget about that now, can we? Make the soup and enjoy every non-shivery bite!
Makes about 6 servings
Prep Time: Under 1 hour (much of this is hands-free time)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, split, cut into thin half moons and rinsed well—pat dry a bit so that they’re not wringing wet
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced (if you don’t have leeks or don’t want to use them, use 2 large onions instead)
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Fine sea salt
A pinch of sugar
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes (I like to use these but you could also use regular Idaho) peeled and cut into small bite-sized cubes
1/2 cup milk
Black pepper to taste
Chopped scallions for garnish (optional)
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the leeks, onion, shallot and garlic. Season with salt. Add the sugar and turn the heat to low. Let the mixture cook for about 20 minutes, stirring every now and then, until the veggies are softened and just beginning to get a bit golden colored.
2. Add in the broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let the soup simmer uncovered until the potatoes are fork tender and beginning to fall apart. Use a potato masher to mash up some of the potatoes, so some are mushy and some are left in little chunks. Add the milk and stir. Heat for a few minutes, so that the milk gets incorporated and hot but not until it boils or it will look curdled. Taste and add a pinch or two of black pepper and more salt if necessary. Ladle into bowls and top with scallions if using. Serve immediately.
Note: Recipe adapted from Everyday Dorie by Dorie Greenspan. I tinkered a lot with this—it’s just a blueprint for whatever veggies you have on hand or prefer. Feel free to make it your own.