Total comfort in a bowl. That’s what this winter vegetable chowder is all about.
And we’ve needed a little dose of comfort food around here, because day after day has been seriously dreary. Pelting rain, sharp gusts, charcoal clouds, rivers filled to the brim.
Once every few days, the clouds part and the sun peeks through. Everyone rushes outside to put up holiday decorations or just turn their faces up to the sun for a moment before the marble-sized raindrops return. And before we know it, they do return.
And so: thank goodness for our toasty houses. Thank goodness for pine-scented candles and cheery Christmas lights and soft flannel pajama pants. And thank goodness for cozy, comforting dishes. You know, like this one.
This hearty vegetable chowder features a dream-team of roasted vegetables: butternut squash, parsnips, fennel, sweet potatoes, and carrots. Onions and vegetable broth give the soup a great base of robust flavor (and vegetable broth, of course, keeps it vegetarian). Potatoes give the soup that signature chowder creaminess without adding fat. And the earthy fresh thyme complements all those wonderfully caramelized roasted veggies oh-so perfectly.
I just love thyme in creamy winter soups. I don’t think I could quit it if I tried.
So! Storm-a-brewing in your neck of the woods? Brew up some of this soup and serve it with some warm crusty bread and a simply-dressed green salad for dinner tonight.
Oh, and top your meat-eater’s serving with a little crumbled bacon if he or she has been nice and not naughty. Or maybe if they’ve been naughty too. You know, depending on the type of naughty.
I’m totally digressing.
Roasted veggie chowder. Try it.
- ½ small butternut squash, peeled and diced into ½-inch squares (about 2 cups diced)
- 3 medium parsnips, ½-inch dice (about 1 cup diced)
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice (about 1 cup diced)
- 2 medium carrots, ½-inch dice (about 1 cup diced)
- ½ fennel bulb, quartered & sliced thin (about 1 cup)
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium onion, diced (about 2 cups diced)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced into ½-inch squares (about 2 cups)
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1 cup milk (I use 2%, but anything from nonfat to whole should work just fine)
- Additional salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash, parsnips, sweet potatoes, carrots, and fennel with 2 tablespoons olive oil and ½ teaspoon coarse salt. Spread in a single layer on a large baking sheet and place in the oven for 25 minutes, turning every 10 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through and browning on all sides. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan over low heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. When the butter has melted, add the onion. Increase heat to medium and cook onions, stirring frequently, until transparent and soft, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the flour and, stirring constantly, cook for 3 minutes.
- Stir in the vegetable broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil over medium heat then reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
- Stir in thyme and roasted vegetables. Return to a simmer.
- Carefully move about 3½ cups soup to a large bowl. Using a blender, puree in batches until smooth. Alternatively, use an immersion blender to (carefully!) puree half of the soup either in the bowl or in the pot. Stir the pureed mixture back into the rest of the soup.
- Stir in the milk and return to a simmer.
- Taste for seasonings, adding additional salt and freshly ground pepper if desired.
- Serve garnished with additional thyme leaves and a few sprigs of fennel fronds if desired.