My friend Lois is amazingly optimistic and happy. She's always in a good mood. Even when there's terrible weather or some health issue crops up, she's upbeat and always ready to envelope me in a welcoming hug. She's the kind of person that you gravitate towards because she just radiates warmth and happiness.
Lois is a terrific cook. She and her husband used to own the art gallery next door to our bookshop and when they would have one of their self-catered exhibition openings, Lois would bake and cook for days before. When the nibbles came out on opening night, her creations were always the first to disappear into hungry art lovers' mouths.
Recently, Lois gave me her handwritten recipe for Vegetable Chowder. It's a versatile recipe that she makes with all kinds of vegetable variations. I of course wanted to make up a pot during our unusually frigid recent weather pattern, so I made sure to stock the larder with broccoli crowns. And sure enough, when I made this satisfying and thick soup, it made me smile almost as much as I do when Lois is around.
Here's Lois' recipe below. I didn't have cauliflower around and didn't add in any meat, so bulked up on the broccoli (2 full stalks).
Lois' Versatile Vegetable Chowder
1 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
5 oz. each broccoli and cauliflower, coarsely chopped
3 small carrots
2 cups milk
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup light cream
1 Tbsp. snipped fresh dill (I used frozen)
*Mix-in Protein Options: 1 lb. of boneless chicken cubes, scallops or peeled shrimp. If using chicken, add in as vegetables are cooking. If using seafood, add it at the end and just cook until done.
Heat butter/oil in soup pot. Add onions after 5 minutes. Add rest of veggies, milk and broth and cook until tender. Transfer to food processor and chop to little pieces. (I used my immersion blender only briefly, as Dan and I like our soup chunky).
Return to soup pot and add dill and cream. Just heat up. Don't let boil.
Makes 4 hearty servings.
I'll be sharing this wonderful chowder recipe with another friend, Deb of Kahakai Kitchen. She hosts a weekly roundup of soup (and sandwich and salad) recipes at her Souper Sundays event. Be sure to stop by next Sunday to see what other wonderful cooks have in their soup cauldrons.