Autumn Root Vegetable Chowder

This root vegetable soup can be made with anything you have on hand. Just don't forget the Chive Batter Bread to sop up all the good stuff!

October 17, 2013
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This is really my favorite "go-to" soup because it is so quick to make. If I don't have parsnips or even carrots, I just make it with potatoes and even skip the corn. If you have kohlrabi or turnips or rutabagas, add them, too! I call it a chowder, but in our Finnish family, it was called "Milk Soup" because of the creamy broth, slightly thickened. You can skip the cheddar cheese—we didn't always add it—but I like the flavor it adds. About the bread: around here, even after snow falls, the chives poke through the white and I keep harvesting them for bread, soups, salads, or whatever!

More: How to Buy Better Bacon

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Hearty by nature, fall’s root vegetables make an excellent chowder, flavored here with smoky bacon and cheddar cheese. This soup always tastes good after an afternoon spent outdoors in the brisk air.

Autumn Root Vegetable Chowder
(Makes 8 servings)

Ingredients:
6 slices bacon, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups vegetable, chicken or beef stock
2½ cups peeled, diced potatoes
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup peeled, chopped parsnips
4 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
3 cups milk
3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Directions:
1. Cook the bacon in a 4-quart soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

2. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings from the pan. Add the onion and cook until it is softened. Add the broth or stock, potatoes, carrots, and parsnips. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the corn and milk and return to a simmer.

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cheese and flour.

4. Stir the cheese mixture into the soup, stirring constantly until the cheese is melted. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the bacon.

Chive Batter Bread
This rich, moist bread features sour cream and an egg and is baked in a pie plate.
(Makes one 9" loaf)

Ingredients:
1 package (1/4 ounce) or 1 scant tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105° to 115°F)
2 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Directions:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Let stand until the yeast looks foamy, 5 minutes. Stir in 11/3 cups of the flour, the chives, sugar, salt, sour cream, and egg. Beat on low speed, scraping the bowl constantly. Once incorporated, beat on high speed for 2 minutes.

 

2. Stir in the remaining 1 cup flour to make a thick, soft batter. Spread evenly in a greased 9" pie plate. Cover and let rise until slightly, but not quite doubled, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.

4. Brush the top of the dough with the melted butter. Bake the bread until golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes.

Adapted from The Soup & Bread Cookbook