Thick, Hearty and the Sky Diver of Comfort Food – It’s Extreme!
When it’s cold outside and you feel a ‘Netflix and Chill’ kinda day coming on, then I recommend making up a batch of this delicious chowder. I’m not one to follow a recipe to the exact measurement, and I always find this so easy to make if I follow some basic steps. The key to chowder success is don’t go to crazy with the wet ingredients...add a bit...taste....add some more...taste etc...because once you drown it in too much water and cream it’s hard to resuscitate this dish back to life.
Firstly, you will need: (makes enough for 4 people)
Potatoes peeled – medium to large x 3 (Desiree or Pontiac work best in chowder)
Leek x 2
Brown Onion x 1
Rasher of Bacon x 1
Dried Packet Parmesan Cheese – quantity to your taste
Chicken stock cube x 1
Thickened Cream - quantity to your taste (I know I keep saying that but wait til the method bit)
Water – quantity to your taste (stop rolling your eyes)
Garlic clove x 1
Olive Oil – a glug
Salt – a couple of pinches
Pepper – a pinch
Chives – chopped.
Dice the potato up into squares around 3cms. You want the chowder to be chunky so don’t dice up too small. Boil the potato in water until the potato pieces are tender but not mushy. While waiting for the potato to cook, chop up your onion, bacon, washed leek and then sautee in frypan with your glug of olive oil and crushed garlic clove until the onion and leek is soft and bacon is cooked but not crispy. Set aside. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your boiling potato...the morph from hard to tender can sneak up on you!
Once potato is tender, drain in a colander. Put half quantity of the cooked potato aside and do the same with the onion, leek and bacon. Then put the other half of the potato, onion, leek and bacon together in the saucepan and add a cup and a half of water, stock cube, salt to taste and heat. Once it starts to heat up, get your blender stick out (just get one..they are not expensive...but if you don’t have one just use a food processor – it’s just messy!) and blend away until the consistency of baby food mush...do you think it needs a bit more water?..then just slowly add a little but not too much because you are going to be putting some cream in shortly. Stir and then add 2 tablespoons of the dried packet Parmesan cheese. Then, add your cooked ingredients that you set aside. Add cream. We don’t like using too much cream and a little goes a long way. Just add a little....taste...then a bit more if you think it needs it, but the chowder needs to be nice and thick. If you think it needs a bit more of a blast with the blender stick here and there then do so. Add your pinch of pepper and more salt and Parmesan if it needs it (I use heaps of Parmesan because it’s so damn delicious and gives the soup a tangy, cheesy flavour). Cook, stirring until hot but not boiling for 5 minutes. Serve and garnish with chopped chives.
Vegetarian option - Omit bacon. Replace chicken stock with vegie stock.
Tips to make it even more incredible:
Grill up some Pancetta and crumble in chunks on top of the chowder.
Serve with sharp cheddar cheese melted on chunky toast slices.
Sprinkle with Goats Cheese or Feta and dried chili.
Break up a French Bread stick into small chunks. Cook in oven until slightly golden brown and crunchy and at the last minute stir through your chowder.
Swirl sour cream on top, add chopped chives and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.
Wash down with the perfect pairing - Sandergrove Estate Wines 'Bon Haye' Chardonnay - Oak Aged and a classic Adelaide Hills Chardy!
Jen - Sandergrove Estate Wines.