Hearty Vegetable Chowder
This Hearty Vegetable Chowder is filled with leeks, carrots, celery, and potatoes. A scoop of tangy Greek yogurt and some Cajun spice give it plenty of flavor and a little kick to warm you up from the inside.
Our temperatures are dropping here in California, and yesterday we got some much-needed rain. While our cold temperatures are certainly nothing extreme, I was looking to warm up with a comforting bowl of soup once dinner time rolled around. This hearty vegetable chowder was perfect to fill our tummies and warm us up, especially since we gave it a little kick with an extra pinch of cayenne pepper!
There are two key steps that give this soup it’s hearty, smooth broth. First, when you add the potatoes to the pot you will need to stir them constantly for a few minutes. This helps the potatoes to release their starches onto the other vegetables, naturally thickening the broth. Second, once the vegetables are tender, you will puree only a part of the broth and vegetables. I loved how this resulted in a smooth, hearty soup with plenty of bite-sized pieces of vegetables.
I added some Cajun spice seasoning to give the soup a little kick. Plus, we stirred in two pinches of cayenne pepper. I guess we were in the mood for spice! Brad and I loved the soup with the extra cayenne, but it was a little too much for the kids. As always, you can adjust the seasonings based on your tastes. If you don’t have any Cajun spice in your pantry, you could pick up a bottle at the store, but why not save a few dollars and make your own? If you keep a well-stocked spice cabinet you probably already have all of the ingredients. I’ve included the recipe that I used below.
Instead of using half-and-half to give the soup creaminess, I opted for lowfat Greek yogurt. I like the flavor and tang that the yogurt provides. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkling of chives brighten up all of the flavors. The only thing I regret about making this is that we didn’t double the recipe! How nice would it be to have a few meal’s worth of this stored in the freezer?
Hearty Vegetable Chowder
Makes 4 servings
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 pound leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin, and washed well
- 5 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 ribs celery, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1/3 tsp. dried thyme
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- ½ tsp. Cajun spice seasoning (store-bought or see recipe below)
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/3 cup 2% Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. minced fresh chives, for serving
- Melt butter in a Dutch oven or other large pot over medium heat. Add leeks, carrots, celery, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until leeks are translucent, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add potatoes and cook, stirring constantly, until starch begins to release and coat vegetables, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth, Cajun spice seasoning, and cayenne and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Transfer 2 cups of the vegetables and 2 cups broth to a blender and puree until smooth. Stir pureed soup back into the pot. Stir in Greek yogurt and lemon juice and gently rewarm soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and another pinch of cayenne if desired. Serve sprinkled with fresh chives.
Source: Adapted from Cook’s Country, October/November 2013
Cajun Spice Seasoning
Makes about ¼ cup
- 2 ½ tsp. paprika
- 2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 ¼ tsp. dried oregano
- 1 ¼ tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to mix well. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Source: Adapted from Allrecipes.com.
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