Leek and Potato Chowder

Hearty, chunky leek chowder pairs well with inclement weather.  This recipe takes inspiration from the immortal Marion Cunningham, although I made several changes.

Prep time:  20 minutes
Cook time:  45 minutes
Serves: 8-10

6 tablespoons butter, separated
4 cups thinly sliced (1/8 inch) leeks, white and light green parts
2 cups thinly sliced (1/8 inch) celery (about 2 stocks) including leaves
5-6 cups chicken stock
2 1/2 cups potatoes, 1/4 inch dice*
1 teaspoon thyme
4 tablespoons whole wheat (or white) flour
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a stock pot over medium heat and saute the leeks and celery for 10 minutes, stirring.  Add 2 cups of stock and cook, covered, for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the diced potatoes and 2 more cups stock.  The potatoes should be just about covered. If not, add more stock.  Add the thyme.  Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes pierce easily with a fork.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat.  Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, as the roux bubbles and smooths.  A few tablespoons at a time, add hot stock from the soup to the roux, stirring or whisking constantly.  It will bubble and thicken.  Do this several times, then pour this flour mixture into your chowder, along with salt and pepper to taste, and cook for a a minute or two, stirring, as it thickens.

Serve hot, with crusty bread and a glass of Beaujolais, and laugh at the storm.

*If your potatoes are organic, leave the peels on for flavor, nutrition, and texture.  Just scrub 'em and use 'em

Photo and Recipe by Tod Dimmick

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