Garden vegetable chowder is thick, creamy soup full of vegetables and cheesy goodness. This vegetable chowder will warm your heart and comfort your soul.
Mmmmm…chowdah! Remember when all of the artisan bread cafes started popping up like dandelions on a wet spring day? I was young(er), fresh out of college, and for the first time in my life (and likely the last,) I had disposable income. I think I ate at a certain bread cafe at least 3 days a week. My order was always the same: broccoli cheese soup in a bread bowl. Talk about comfort food! If I didn’t have that soup every week, I would go into serious withdrawals. It was that good.
Then life happened, and bread cafes fell off my personal radar. But the cravings lingered. Oh, how the cravings lingered!
Now that I am (a little) older with four kids living in an area devoid of bread cafes, I had to come up with a way to satisfy my cheesy soup cravings at home. I just had to. A little trial and error, and this garden vegetable chowder was born. I’m not one to brag, but this chowder blows the bakery cafe soup out of the water.
Or so I am told.
Ahh…Bacon Slayer! He’s my biggest fan.
And like all of my favorite comfort foods, this garden vegetable chowder is super-simple to put together. So let’s do it!
You’ll need: 2% milk, chopped carrots, broccoli florets, onion, diced potatoes, chicken or vegetable stock, unsalted butter, all-purpose flour, and a big pile o’ shredded cheddar cheese.
Melt the butter in a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Continue heating the butter until it begins to brown.
Throw the chopped veggies into the pot: onion, broccoli, potatoes, carrots, and celery. Stir to sauté the veggies until they soften up a tad–about 5 minutes.
Pour in the chicken (or vegetable) stock, and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Walk away and forget about it for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. I tend to set a timer so that I don’t get distracted and forget about it. It happens.
By the way, your kitchen is smelling awesome right about now.
Whisk the flour into the milk until smooth. I’m afraid that I have to insist that you use, at minimum, 2 % milk. The fat in the milk gives body to the chowder. Skim milk is way too watery, so fat free milk need not apply.
Pour the milk mixture into the veggies and stock. Increase the heat to medium. Bring it to a boil, and stir constantly for about two minutes, or until chowder thickens.
Turn off the heat, and get ready to add the best part: the CHEESE!! Everything is better with cheese, and this vegetable chowder has a lot of it!
And for all that is good and right with the world, use a full fat cheddar. Please do not, I repeat: do not use a reduced fat cheese. Just don’t do it. It’s yucky and it doesn’t melt properly.
It’s cheese soup people! Make peace with it.
Oh! And grate your own cheese. OK, I’m done being demanding now. Thanks for understanding.
Stir in all 3 cups of shredded cheesy goodness into the vegetable chowder, and stir it until completely melted. Give it a quick taste, and add a bit of sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Taste it again. Faint. Then ladle it into a big bowl.
Then in your best Barry White voice, say “Well, hello Gorgeous. Do you come here often?”
Ha! I just wanted to see if you’d do it. I’m pretty easily amused.
Be sure to have some crusty bread on hand to dredge into your vegetable chowder.
I recommend a good sourdough, but you can slice up whatever crusty bread it is that you are craving. I don’t mind a bit.