October 1, 2009

Broccoli-Leek Chowder with Bacon

Our vegetable share produced a bumper crop of broccoli the past two weekends. What to do with all these florets? They were accompanied by some rather perfect red potatoes and a gorgeous leek, so I came up with the following introduction to fall... Grab a spoon and dig in!

Broccoli-Leek Chowder with Bacon

4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled (reserve 2 T bacon fat)
1 large leek, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp tarragon
6 small red potatoes, coarsely chopped (skins on)
1 large head broccoli, trimmed to single florets
1 quart (32 oz) vegetable broth
1 c shredded Gouda or Gruyere cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Heat 2 T bacon fat on medium-high heat in a large stockpot. Saute leeks 2-3 minutes, until golden. Add garlic and saute another 1-2 minutes. Add herbs and potatoes and cook and stir about 3-5 minutes to soften (do not brown potatoes). Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer until potatoes are soft (about 20 minutes). Remove soup from heat and allow to cool about 15 minutes. Ladle half the soup into a deep bowl and use an immersion blender to puree this portion (or pour into a blender and puree). Return puree to pot and reheat on medium-low heat. Add broccoli and simmer 3-5 minutes. Serve hot with cheese and bacon sprinkled on top. Serves 6.

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