Soups are a great choice for busy nights. Chowders are even better to keep those bellies full longer. This soup is comforting, hearty and delicious.
For most of my life, I was convinced that in order for soups to be delicious, I had to see through them. It was important for me to distinguish the soup ingredients and tell them apart. Potatoes had to have a distinct shape and texture. Carrots had to be orange-colored and uniform. Blended soups made great first foods for babies, but I needed my clear, see-through soups like this classic Easy Meatball Soup and the Fish Ukha Soup.
In fact, even my beloved childhood Split Pea Soup was never blended. You can taste the different textures and even move the little peas inside your mouth with your tongue. I know, you had to be a child to enjoy that! I never quite understood chowders and stews and if I’m completely honest, I still don’t know the difference. Please don’t send the soup police!
It wasn’t until recently really because of necessity that I realized that thickened soups keep teenagers fuller longer. Now, hear me out on this one. Clear soups tend to go straight through you rather quickly, making you hungry (or starving if you’re a teenager) faster. In order to thicken soups to make them stew or chowders you have to either (a) add more ingredients or (b) thicken with a flour. Often, a recipe will require both of those methods. Regardless, what that creates is a thick soup, which really you cannot see through, but who cares if you can keep your children out of the kitchen for more than 3 1/2 minutes, right? Priorities. It’s all about priorities.
As of late, I’ve been experimenting with different
soups chowders that will keep my family’s hunger satisfied. As life gets busier for me, I realize I rely heavily on soups because they are simply convenient, easy to make and can be as nutrient-dense as you want them to be. But I also realize that sometimes it’s not quite enough for my family so I go for rich and thick chowders and stews.
Mushroom & Bacon Potato Chowder Recipe
Start by cooking bacon whichever way you feel most comfortable with. If it’s going in soups, I love cutting it in small pieces with kitchen shears and cooking it in a cast iron skillet until nicely browned. You can also bake it in the oven and then crumble it for the soup.
In a large soup pot, heat oil of choice – you can either use two tablespoons of reserved bacon grease or butter, lard, tallow and work on this simultaneously as the bacon is cooking to save time. Save that bacon grease for tomorrow’s breakfast.
Sauté chopped onions, celery and mushrooms and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and dried basil. Whisk in the arrowroot flour and cook until lightly browned and thickened. Add broth and cook, whisking constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Add potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are fully cooked. Stir in cream and cooked bacon and continue to cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with curly parsley and/or freshly grated parmesan.
Mushroom and Bacon Potato Chowder
- 16 oz. bacon cut in small pieces
- 2 tablespoons cooking fat
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 celery stalks chopped
- 16 oz. mushrooms sliced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons arrowroot flour
- 2 quarts bone broth
- 6 large russet potatoes cubed
- 1 pint cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- parsley for garnish
On medium high heat, cook bacon pieces until crispy. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Keeping the heat on medium, cook onions, celery and mushrooms in the bacon grease, stirring occasionally until tender. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and basil.
Whisk in flour to create a roux and cook until lightly browned. Whisk in broth and cook, whisking constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Add potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are fully cooked.
Stir in cream until heated through, season with additional salt and pepper to taste.