Snow! We are in the midst of our first real winter weather here in Pueblo and, while I already miss the long, lazy days of summer, I do love soup and stewed dishes so I plan to focus on the positive and get cooking. Our winters in southern Colorado don’t compare at all to what happens in other parts of the country. Generally, like now, we get a dusting of snow and it doesn’t stick around for very long. This cold front was a bit of a shock to the system, though. On Tuesday, I enjoyed my lunch outside in the sunshine, relishing the gorgeous 70 degree weather. About an hour later the wind was terrible and the temperature had dropped 20 degrees. Now it won’t get above freezing. Extreme shifts in temperature are common for Colorado, but I really wasn’t quite ready for it yet. I still had plans for hiking and running in the fall sunshine. Luckily, there will still be lots of occasions for that because this can’t last too long.
For now, though, it’s cold! So what’s a girl to do? Well I made chowder. I like my chowder with lots of veggies, of course, while my son chose to pick out all the chunks of ham and eat those. One day I’m convinced he’ll like vegetables just as much as I do, but I’m not holding my breath for it! This is a comforting bowl of creamy, salty, smoky deliciousness, just perfect for a chilly day. I cut everything into fairly small chunks so this chowder came together quickly. The next time a storm blows in, consider warming up with a big bowl of this and maybe a glass of wine. I promise not to tell.
2 tsp. coconut oil
3 stalks of celery
2 large carrots
2 turnips, total about 3/4 lb.
1/2 bell pepper (I used an orange one)
4 oz. mushrooms
1/4 tsp. salt
3 c. ham, cut into 1/2 in. chunks
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. bouquet garni
1/4 tsp. pepper + more to taste
4 c. stock (I used pork stock)
1 c. coconut milk
1) Gather all of the vegetables together. Peel the carrots and turnips and chop everything into 1/2 in. pieces.
2) Melt coconut oil (or other fat of choice) in a large soup pot over medium high heat and sauté the vegetables with salt until beginning to soften, about 7 minutes.
3) Add the ham and herbs and stir everything together. Then add the stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes.
4) Once the vegetables are soft, scoop out about a cup of veggies and broth and puree (I used a Magic Bullet for this). Add it back to the chowder, pour in the coconut milk, and simmer vigorously for about 10 minutes.
5) Taste to adjust the seasoning – if the ham is salty, skip any additional salt. Serve in large bowls with lots of freshly ground pepper.