I spent today making a nice big pot of Mushroom Chowder, thinking it would be perfect for a cold day, and in anticipation of some snow. Although we have yet to see a single snowflake, the chowder was delicious.
I love chowders, a few years back I made a point of trying as many different clam chowders as possible. Whenever we went to the coast (Oregon), I would try a different place for clam chowder each lunch and dinner. It is amazing how many different ways this soup can be made. I would love to try East coast chowders one of these days as well. I have also made my own clam chowder in the past. The last couple of years I have been avoiding shellfish, and clams, so no clam chowder. I have been wanting to come up with a substitute, and I had a feeling mushrooms might just be the trick.
Here is how I made my Mushroom Chowder.
2 packages of Crimini or Mini Portobello Mushrooms
1 package white mushrooms
10-12 peeled and chopped red potatoes
2 medium onions chopped
1 bunch celery chopped
1 cup frozen crinkle cut carrots
1- 32 oz. Chicken broth
1 stick of butter
1/3 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
salt & pepper to taste
Italian seasoning for mushrooms
First, peel and chop the potatoes, onions, and celery, put them in a soup pot also add one cup of frozen crinkle cut carrots, add broth, then add water to bring liquid just to cover veggies, add some salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium high checking and stirring occasionally, turn to medium once it reaches boiling and keep it at a low boil and covered.
In the meantime, wash and chop mushrooms, in another pot melt half the stick of butter, add mushrooms, and a few dashes of Italian seasoning. Cook the mushrooms for about half and hour or so until they are cooked down a bit.
Here are the mushrooms before they are cooked.
Here are the mushrooms when they have cooked for about half and hour.
When the mushrooms are done, use a slotted spoon to transfer the mushrooms to the soup pot, there will be a nice rich mushroomy liquid left in the bottom of the pan, not a lot, but enough to help make a delicious roux to thicken the chowder, leave the leftover mushroom liquid in the pan used to cook the mushrooms.
Here is what the soup pot will look like after the addition of the mushrooms.
Cover the soup, and let it simmer at medium low, stirring occasionally. Cook the soup until the veggies are thoroughly cooked ( roughly 1 1/2 hours ), then it is time to make a roux to thicken the chowder.
Melt the other half a stick of butter into the pan used to cook the mushrooms, with the reserved mushroom liquid. Add to the melted butter, 1/3 cup flour and whisk the flour into the butter & liquid. This will form a paste, continue cooking this for a good minute or two, whisking so it doesn't burn, over a medium high heat. Then add one cup whole milk, and whisk until combined and thickened, then add the second cup of milk and whisk until combined and thickened. This will make a nice thick gravy like white sauce.
Here is the white sauce. The mushroom liquid gives it a nice color.
To serve, ladle into a bowl, then top with a pat of butter. Serve with a slice or two of french or sourdough bread. The whole family really enjoyed this chowder.
Snow update: Just as I was finishing up this post, I looked out my window, and the snow has started to fall-Woo Hoo! I couldn't get a good picture so I took a two second video. It isn't cold enough to stick yet, but is is nice to see some snow.