Thursday, September 01, 2005

Very Creamy Vegetable Chowder

From Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special by The Moosewood Collective

This is a crowd-pleasing Moosewood standard. There is nothing more appealing and satisfying than a sweet, fresh vegetables in a smooth, saucy Cheddar and cream cheese base: it's food that makes you feel safe and sound and well cared for.

This soup is sweet and mild and filled with enough vegetables for one meal, so serve it with a peppery little salad for contrast.

Serves 8 to 10
Yields 11 cups
Total time: 50 minutes

2 cups chopped onions
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon canola or other vegetable oil
2 celery stalks, diced
1 cup peeled and diced carrots
1 1/2 cups diced potatoes
3 cups water or Basic Light Vegetable Stock (I used 2 cans of vegetable broth)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup diced red bell peppers
1 cup diced zucchini
1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas (I used corn in place of the peas since that's what I had open in the freezer)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 cups milk (I used skim milk)
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
2 ounces Neufchatel or cream cheese

In a large soup pot on medium heat, sauté the onions in the butter and oil for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the celery, cover, and cook until just soft, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots, potatoes, water or stock, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil; then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes. With a strainer or slotted spoon, remove about 1 1/2 cups of the cooked vegetables and set aside in a blender or food processor.

Add the green beans, bell peppers, and zucchini to the soup pot and cook until the green beans are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and parsley, simmer for 2 more minutes, and then remove from the heat. Discard the bay leaf.

Puree the reserved vegetables with the milk and cheeses to make a smooth sauce. Stir the sauce into the soup and gently reheat. Serve hot.

My notes: This is an excellent soup. It tastes just rich enough, but it's not at all heavy like a cream soup. I used corn in place of the peas since that's what was open in the freezer and I would not skip the corn again - it definitely went very nicely with this soup, just as it does with many chowders. I also added a sprinkling of crushed red pepper - not only did it add nice color, but it gave it a nice zing.

I talked about this recipe HERE.


  1. With the cheese and cream cheese, I bet you could leave out the butter up front and never miss it ... I've started using stock or even just water for that step. It's working great --

  2. Alysha, I finally got around to trying this soup after reading your review on here a few months ago - it really is wonderful! Thank you so much for the recommendation. :)

  3. Elisabeth - I'm glad you enjoyed it!