Vegetable Chowder

Everyone knows that vegetables are an important part of your every day diet, but it can be tough to accomplish this every day. I've been trying to add more vegetables to my diet--as many as I can--and really like switching to full vegetable meals every now again like with Spaghetti Squash Pizza Crust and Roasted Spaghetti Squash and Marinara.  I feel like I've discovered something top secret when I find super healthy meals that taste amazing.  Salad's not the only way to eat right!



After noticing my veggie drawer overflowing with fresh vegetables and possibility, I realized it had been a while since I made my last soup.  I took some tidbits from the Cheesy Vegetable Chowder I made before, but this time used some different veggies and cut back on the cheese.

My initial goal was a regular vegetable chowder.  I first melted some butter in the bottom of my dutch oven, the added some chopped onion and garlic and sauteed it over medium heat until the garlic began to brown.


Next, I added in the veggies.  I had a ton of vegetables I wanted to use up, so I ended up tossing in an interesting mix of sweet potato, cabbage, carrots, sweet peppers, celery, and peas.  I poured in the water, then added the veggies along with it.


I boiled the vegetables for 30 minutes, until the carrots were fork tender.


I drained the water, reserving 3 cups of the vegetable broth for the soup.  When I made Chicken Pot Pie, I considered using the water from the vegetables as broth, but wasn't sure if it would work.  After talking it over with one of my coworkers, I learned it was possible and much better for the dish than using dried bouillon.  Of course I had to try it at my next opportunity!


Next, I added the broth back in the pan.  I poured the milk and cream into a measuring cup, added the flour, then used a fork to mix in and dissolve the flour.  I poured that in the pan, then added the chili powder, parsley, basil, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, and white pepper.  I let the soup cook another 2-3 minutes.


The soup had a real kick to it with the cayenne pepper and crushed red pepper, so I ended up mixing in 1 cup of shredded cheddar since I figured that would cool down the spice.  That's not to say the original outcome wasn't good--I like some spice, but just was in the mood for something a little weaker on the spicy front.


I have to say, I really enjoyed my first Cheesy Vegetable Chowder, but LOVED this version.  I was happy to learn how to make a basic vegetable chowder, but then up the flavor level with the cheese.  And it really wasn't difficult to make.  Chop some veggies and boil them on the stove, and voila: a healthy, tasty, and filling meal.  The cheese did as expected and knocked down the spiciness just enough, while also adding a really great flavor.  I loved the sweet potatoes in there--they pretty much disintegrated into the soup and thickened it even more.  The cabbage was a great fit, and the sweet peppers went good with the other ingredients.  Plus, the marsala wine added a very slight but delicious flavor.  I really enjoyed the end result and will absolutely use these spices again for another vegetable soup.  I brought a bit into work and it was well received.  Look ma, no meat!  Vegetable meals: +1.

Vegetable Chowder Recipe

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups chopped sweet potato
3 cups chopped carrots
1 cup sliced cabbage
1/2 cup chopped sweet pepper
2 celery stalks
4 cups water
1 tablespoon Marsala wine
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon parsley
1 tablespoon basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup cheddar

Instructions:

Melt butter in the bottom of a dutch oven or large cooking pot.  Add garlic and chopped onion and saute for 2-3 minutes, until the garlic begins to brown.  Pour in water, then add peas, sweet potato, carrots, cabbage, sweet pepper, and celery.  Heat to boiling and simmer for 30 minutes, until the carrots and potatoes are fork tender. Drain water, which is now vegetable broth, reserving 3 cups.  Add broth back to pot.  Use a fork to dissolve the flour in the milk, then add to the pan.  Continue adding remaining ingredients, including heavy cream, chili powder, parsley, basil, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, and white pepper.  Simmer on medium low heat for 2-3 minutes, until soup thickens.  Stir in cheddar and leave on heat until fully melted.


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