There's this little restaurant that my husband and I have visited since the time we were married. It's been through a couple of owners but its latest incarnation has been our favorite. When we were kid-less we used to spend hours combing the papers during their Sunday brunch, then it was a spot I'd satiate pregnancy cravings (more stuffed French toast, please!) and now it's one of our regular family haunts. After all, the owners raised four of their own children so they know how to cater to folks with little ones.
When I was pregnant Dan would trudge out in the snow to pick me up their mushroom cheddar chowder for dinner. It's one of my all time comfort food picks and I'm convinced it's now the first soup Scarlett's craves in the winter because she enjoyed so much of it in utero. I'm sure the owners would have given me the recipe but one day, when I had a hankering for its creamy goodness, I decided I'd try to replicate it. I haven't looked back since. I think I got it spot on, and I can't stop making it.
Photos by Maya Visnyei
Mushroom Cheddar Chowder
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 large shallot, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 lb mushrooms, sliced (I like to use a mix of cremini and portabello)
2 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons spelt flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese for garnish
2 tablespoons sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
sprinkling of crushed walnuts
In a large pot over medium heat, melt half the butter. Add shallot, garlic and carrot and saute until onions are tender and carrot is tender but still crisp. Pour in half the stock and then add the mushrooms, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
In a small saucepan, melt the rest of the butter. Gradually add flour, whisking constantly until smooth. Add milk and bring mixture to a boil, then immediately reduce heat and continue whisking until mixture thickens a bit, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add to soup.
Pour in the remaining stock and continue to simmer roux is completely incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Remove pot from heat and, using an immersion blender, blend soup until desired consistency. (I love mine super smooth.)
Ladle into bowls and serve with a helping of grated cheddar, dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of crushed walnuts.
I'm not saying that I won't go to our neighborhood spot any more, but Dan's got to be thankful he doesn't have to venture out in the snow anymore.