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Butternut Squash Chowder

Butternut Squash Chowder
Chowder has a long-standing reputation as a communal dish. It is said to have originated in 16th-century French seacoast towns, where local fishermen would contribute part of the days catch to a stew that was shared by the entire village. The stew derives its name from the vessel in which it was cooked: a large pot known as a chaudière. Over time, chowder became synonymous with a type of thick, hearty soup that can be prepared with a variety of ingredients. Like our butternut squash version, classic chowders typically include chunks of potatoes or other vegetables, which add texture and substance.

Ingredients:

  • 4 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh sage, plus small sage
      leaves for garnish
  • 4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch
      cubes
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 jar (32 oz.) butternut squash puree
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the bacon, stirring frequently, until crispy, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towellined plate. Set aside.

Pour off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat from the pan and return the pan to medium heat. Add the onion, celery, bay leaf, chopped sage, the 4 tsp. salt and the 1 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, just until the vegetables are soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.

Add the wine and simmer, stirring to scrape up the browned bits, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broth and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes.

Add the butternut squash puree and bacon and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaf and discard.

Ladle the chowder into warmed bowls and garnish with sage leaves. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Make-Ahead Tips: Make the soup (withholding the cream) up to 1 day in advance. Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until just before serving time. When reheating the soup, stir in the cream.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.