Earlier in the week, I posted my review of Tracey Medeiros' new book, The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook: 150 Home-Grown Recipes from the Green Mountain State. (Spoiler: I loved it.)
As I noted in my review, while the book includes the expected recipes from chefs at Vermont's most celebrated restaurants, it also offers favorite family recipes shared by the farmers who provide many of the key ingredients to those same food professionals.
(And Oliver Parini's accompanying photographs are a feast for the eyes.)
As part of the review process, I have been cooking my way through the The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook, based on seasonality, and I've come across some new favorite recipes.
Case in point: the Ski Vermont Farmhouse Potato Chowder.
According to the accompanying story, the recipe was created by chef Gerry Nooney of Timbers Restaurant at Sugarbush Resort, as a way of helping Vermont farmers sell more potatoes. (Again, I love the connection between the food professionals and producers that the book highlights.)
I hope to hell it worked, because this chowder is amazing -- quite possibly the best soup I've ever made, according to Mr. Ninj (and not simply because there's no asparagus in it). When you taste it, you'll be amazed that there's no cheese in it, because it tastes so rich and creamy, practically cheddary. In fact, I had to correct myself when titling this post because I automatically called it "potato cheese chowder."
As is my habit, I tweaked the recipe quite a bit, based on what I had on hand, a nod to healthier/lighter eating and weeknight time-saving, which is why my version is more soup than chunky chowder. But be sure to get your hands on a copy of the book for the original, as well as some other amazing recipes and profiles.
Are you a chowder fan? What's your favorite kind? The Ninj wants to know.
Vermont Potato Chowder (adapted from Tracey Medeiros' The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook)
1 pound potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup apple cider (I used hard cider)
8 ounces hot Italian sausage2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 cup half-and-half
2-4 teaspoons chopped basil and/or thyme
salt and pepper
In a soup pot, bring the stock, cider and potatoes to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender (roughly 10 minutes). Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth.
While the potatoes are simmering, cook the sausage in a skillet over medium heat, stirring to crumble. Set aside. In the same pan, heat the oil and cook the celery and onion until tender, then add the paprika and cook another few minutes. Add this veggie mixture to the soup pot, along with the cooked sausage and stir in the half-and-half until well blended. Lastly, add the herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper.