Saturday, October 1, 2011

Soup's On

The calendar has turned to October, the weather has begun to cool, and I need shut the windows at night before I go to sleep. Autumn has arrived. Which means one thing in our house: soup on a weekly basis -- or thereabouts. I could easily eat soup everyday, but last winter I settled for once a week. And as I made soup more and more, I found canned soup less and less appealing. So this season I've started making a pot of soup every Sunday to eat through the week.

I've discovered this recipe last year from an old issue of Taste of Home -- although when you read the ingredients you might think it's a Paula Dean recipe -- and it quickly became one of my favorites. It's cheesy, has fresh produce, and just enough pepper to warm you from the inside out as you eat it. Give this one a try on a cold, rainy night, and you'll quickly add it to your list of favorites, too. (But your cardiologist will probably tell you not to eat it on a regular basis.)

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

Recipe from Taste of Home
Yield: 8 - 10 servings

  • 1/2 cup each finely chopped carrot, celery, and onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 8 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
  • 3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper *
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheedar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a Dutch oven, sauté carrot, celery, onion and red pepper in 4 tablespoons butter until vegetables are tender. Stir in broth, broccoli florets, potato, Worcestershire sauce, and cayenne pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10-15 minutes or until the broccoli florets and potato are tender.
  2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt remaining butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat; stir in cheese. Continue to stir just until cheese is melted.
  3. Slowly stir cheese sauce into vegetable mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with additional shredded cheese if desired.

* I use 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, since my son eats this too. Also keep in mind that the soup will get spicier the longer it sits. So if you plan on eating this over the course of a week, you might want to cut back on the cayenne as well.

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