Spicy Gravenstein Chowder with Crumbled Bacon

Okay, you HAVE to make this.  It’s not a request, it’s a requirement.  M and I ate two big bowls full each.  EACH.  We left maybe a cup and a half in the pot.  That’s ridiculous.  I can barely move.

I found the original recipe today in the local newspaper, but I didn’t have about half the ingredients.  So I’m going to copy & paste the original and add notes to what I substituted.  And make no mistake:  my version is GOOD.
Spicy Gravenstein Chowder with Crumbled Bacon

Makes 4 to 6 servings

3 to 4 bacon slices (I used turkey bacon)

  • 1 shallot, minced (I used a small Walla Walla onion and one garlic clove)
  • 5 large Gravenstein apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper in a mill
  • 3/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper (I used 1 teaspoon smoked paprika)
  • 4 cups smoked poultry or meat stock, see Note below (I didn’t have smoked stock)
  • 4 ounces naturally-smoked cheddar or smoked goat cheese, grated (I just used regular ol’ cheddar, and M had his dairy-soy-free cheese-like-stuff)
  • 6 tablespoons creme fraiche, stirred until smooth (I had low fat sour cream)
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives or minced Italian parsley (I had garlic chives from my garden)

Fry the bacon in a medium pot, such as a Dutch oven, until it is fully crisp. Transfer the bacon to absorbent paper and pour off all but about 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat.

Return the pan to medium low heat, add the shallot and cook until soft and fragrant, about 6 to 7 minutes; do not let it brown. Add the apples and potatoes and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, until they just begin to soften and take on a bit of color. Season generously with salt and pepper and add the chipotle powder.

Pour in the stock, increase the heat to high and when the stock boils, reduce the heat so that the mixture simmers gently. Cook until the apples and potatoes are completely tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool slightly and puree with an immersion blender. If you do not have an immersion blender, pass the soup through a food mill fitted with the small blade.

Return the soup to very low heat. If it is too thick, thin with a water until the desired consistency is reached and heat through. Add the cheese and stir until it is incorporated into the soup. Taste and correct for salt and pepper.

Chop or crumbled the bacon.

To serve, ladle into soup plates and top each portion with a spoonful of creme fraiche. Sprinkle chives or parsley on top, followed by crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.

Notes:

  • DO NOT SKIP THE CHEESE!  Even if you have to find the dairy-soy-free cheese-like-stuff.  It’s necessary.
  • It was a little on the runny side.  I like my blended soups to be thick.  Next time I’m going to add another small potato and another apple.

ENJOY!

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