Rustic Potato Chowder

YUMMM!!! Heidi Swanson’s blog is one of my favorites I have found myself pouring over the recipes, buying ingrediants and exploring new flavors and textures during the cold, rainy days of winter. The color and variety of food she offers is inspiring. Her photography is almost as delicious as the recipes and her writing style and layout invite me to return regularly to see what new is waiting. This potato chowder is a warm and delicious addition to any wintry day or night… Check out her website – and be sure to report back if you try any of her others. Enjoy!

Rustic Potato Chowder Recipe

(Heidi says)  A few chunky soup making tips:

– Big, chunky soups also make good pot pie fillings. Scoop the vegetables and goodies up with a slotted spoon, let most of the liquid drain off and use them as a flavor-packed filling.

– Make soups like this one in big batches and you will have leftovers all week.

– When I have a warm, creamy soup I like to counterbalance it with a toss of something crunchy and crisp. In this case it is chopped, crisp Smart Bacon – but I also like fried shallots, crunchy noodles, croutons, etc.

– Invite friends or neighbors over to share a big pot on a stormy night.

– Designate a soup night once a week. You could actually cook your way through fifty new soups in one year.

(Heidi says) This soup is super easy. Totally doable on a weeknight, and chances are you have the bulk of the ingredients on hand already.

         Rustic Potato Chowder Recipe

8 to 10 slices Smart Bacon (or real bacon if you’re not-veg)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups diced, unpeeled new potatoes, any color (1/4-inch dice)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 cups organic milk (low-fat is fine)
1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
another 1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper

fresh chives and/or chive flowers

Create the base: In a large pot cook the Smart Bacon according to package instructions, until browned and crisp. Cool and chop into small pieces. Set aside.

Add ingredients and simmer: In the same pot over medium-high heat, add the extra-virgin olive oil, onions, shallots, and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes, or until the onions start to get soft.

Add the diced potatoes and teaspoon of salt and saute for about two minutes. Now add the mustard and milk. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the soup thickens and the potatoes are soft throughout.

Whisk and season: Whisk in the Gruyere cheese, another teaspoon of salt, and a couple pinches of pepper. Garnish with the bacon, fresh chives, and/or chive flowers.

Makes about six big bowls.