Cheese and Vegetable Chowder with Fresh Herbs

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In these colder months, I love warming bowls of creamy soup speckled with finely chopped root vegetables, fresh herbs, and sprinkled with fresh parsley.   This soup is heaven served with a piece or two of sourdough bread with a little grass-fed butter.

I might even say this is my favorite soup (barring the wild mushroom soup I ate at Zingerman’s in Michigan a few years ago).  Every time I make it I savor each bite and eat slowly and happily.  So pull up a CSA box and get a-food-processing.  This one is worth it. I think my strange obsession with this soup stems from the use of a purple-top turnip.  I do not think I ever ate these as a child.  I don’t remember knowing what a turnip was as a child!  So perhaps I am enamored with it’s earthy texture and understated flavor.

It also could be that I simply adore soups where the vegetables are finely chopped.  I think it gives the perfect bite every time, so that your palate is hit with all the different vegetables and flavors together in unison.  It’s like savory confetti for a party in my mouth.

Equipment Needed:

  • large stockpot, French oven, or slow cooker
  • good knife for chopping, a food processor, or a food chopper
  • wooden spoon
  • ladle
  • half gallon glass jars and storage lids for storing

Note: You can make this soup GAPS-legal by subbing broccoli or cauliflower for the potato, using coconut flour instead of sprouted flour to thicken the soup, and using sour cream or 24-hour GAPS yogurt instead of the cream.

Cheese and Vegetable Chowder

4-6 tablespoons butter (buy grass-fed butter here)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large leek, split lengthwise and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
6 T. sprouted whole grain flour (buy sprouted flour here, how to make sprouted flour here)
5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (how to make chicken stock here)
3 carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 turnip, peeled and finely diced
1 large potato, finely chopped
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/8 tsp. dried thyme (buy organic herbs here)
1 bay leaf (buy organic herbs here)
1½ cups raw cream or half-and-half (find raw milk and cream near you here)
.
10½ oz. mature raw Cheddar cheese, grated (buy grass-fed cheeses here)
fresh chopped parsley, to sprinkle on top
salt and pepper to taste (buy unrefined sea salt here and organic pepper here)
.

  1. Melt the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan or stockpot over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and leek. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables start to soften.  Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes, taking care it doesn’t burn.
  2. Stir the flour into the vegetables and continue cooking for 2 minutes.
  3. Add a little of the stock and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pan to mix in the flour. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and slowly stir in the rest of the stock.
  4. Add the carrots, celery, turnip, potato, thyme and bay leaf. Reduce the heat, cover and cook gently for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaf and the thyme branches.
  5. Add the cheese a few handfuls at a time, stirring constantly for about a minute after each addition, to make sure it is completely melted. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, adding salt if needed, and pepper to taste.
  6. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream until warmed through.
  7. Ladle immediately into warm bowls, sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and serve.
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