Roasted Garlic and Mushroom Chowder

Chowders are thick soups thickened by milk, cream or broken crackers. This soup doesn’t have any of these ingredients, so what’s up with the title? Well, I originally intended to call this soup a cream of mushroom and potato soup, but after I made it and look carefully at the photo, the term chowder exploded in my mind. The roasted garlic and some of the potatoes create the creaminess. The texture is fresh mushrooms and roasted potatoes.

I don’t use a lot of ingredients in making this soup, but the steps are a bit involved. You can make some parts of this soup separately, then put it together about an hour before you want to serve it.

You can use any type of fresh mushroom that is available – the more the merrier. The dried mushrooms should be a combination of shiitake and porcini because they create a rich mushroom broth after soaking…plus they taste good in the soup. Make sure to use ‘waxy’ style potatoes. Unlike starchy (or mealy) potatoes, waxy potatoes keep their shape after cooking, which makes them perfect for the little potato bits that give the soup a nice texture.

For best results, make the soup a day or two in advance and gently reheat it. The flavors will develop and intensify with time. I usually make a big batch and simply enjoy it for about 3-4 nights – check the weather in your area, and think about making this soup during a cold snap!

Yield: about 8-12 servings

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