Saturday, February 20, 2010

Broccoli, Red Pepper, and Cheese Chowder

I haven't been cooking much lately, because life seems to keep throwing challenges in my way.  Would you believe this is the only dinner I've cooked more myself in nearly two weeks?

The original has been modified a bit based on what I had on hand.  You can pass on the chickpeas (they don't add much) unless you have some lying around.  I'm also on the fence about adding a chipotle pepper to the soup.  It added spice, but may have been a bit over powering.  I was quite happy though with substituting ricotta and gruyere for cheddar though and highly recommend it!

Broccoli, Red Pepper, and Cheese Chowder (adapted from epicurious)


1 small head broccoli (1/2 pound)
1 large boiling potato (1/2 pound) [I used 4 baby potatoes]
1 large onion, chopped [I used a red onion]
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces [I used 1 canned slow-roasted bell pepper]
l large garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup ricotta
3/4 cup grated gruyere cheese (I used smoked)
1 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce chopped (optional)
1 cup cooked chickpeas (optional)

1. Discard tough lower third of broccoli stem. Peel remaining stem and finely chop. Cut remaining broccoli into very small (1-inch) florets. Cook florets in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking, then drain. Reserve 3 cups cooking water for chowder.
2. Cut potato into 1/2-inch cubes. Cook potato, onion, bell pepper, broccoli stems, and garlic in butter in a 3- to 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Add cumin, salt, pepper, chipotle pepper, and mustard and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
4. Add reserved cooking water and simmer (partially covered), stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
5. Stir in cream and cheese and cook, stirring, until cheese is melted, then season with salt and pepper.
6. Purée with an immersion blender. Add florets and chickpeas and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes.

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