Monday, December 04, 2006

A Soup for St. Bart’s: Turkey-Apple Chowder with Cheddar and Ale

My wife, Christina, has staff meetings mid-day Mondays at St. Bartholomew’s church, where she is a deacon. Having brought in a hot snack for the group several weeks ago (the green chile I was developing then – see the November 20th blog posting), she was encouraged to consider them guinea pigs anytime. So another hearty experimental soup headed their way today, a cold blustery early winter day in Atlanta.

With the chill weather and the popularity of the home-made soups at our deli in Athens, Donderos’ Kitchen, I have been creating a number of such concoctions recently. With the opportunity to try the dish on the clergy at St. Bart’s, I was influenced by their Episcopalian tradition to incorporate some Englishness: thus the apples, cheddar, and ale. I can’t say I have had anything quite like this before, but I was pleased with the outcome.

The key thing in making this “chowder” is a food processor. Finely dicing all the vegetables would otherwise be tedious, although it would work to produce a well-textured soup, anyway. The diced apples would soften to a puree in the cooking and the potatoes would thicken the soup as they become tender and begin to break down. The recipe calls for half a bottle of ale or beer. You can figure out what to do with the remainder. The recipe makes a lot of soup, but it serves well as a leftover. Have the soup for a hearty lunch sprinkled with a little extra minced parsley and accompanied by warm crusty bread.

Turkey-Apple Chowder with Cheddar and Ale Tim

2 medium-large onions
2 pounds ground turkey
1 large carrot, not peeled
1-1/2 large stalks celery
3 large apples
2 quarts water or vegetable broth (unsalted)
2 large bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dry savory
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 very large or 2 medium-large baking type potatoes (over 1 pound)
3 teaspoons salt plus more to taste
1/2 (12-ounce) bottle ale or lager beer
1-1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley, plus extra, minced, for garnish

Peel and quarter the onions. Chop them finely in a food processor (do not wash processor afterwards). Combine onion and ground turkey in a large heavy-bottomed stainless steel pot. Fry together over medium heat without added oil (unless very lean turkey was used), breaking the mixture up, until the juices come out and dry down. Meanwhile cut unpeeled carrot and the celery into chunks and chop them very finely in the food processor. Add to the turkey mixture and cook in, stirring frequently until some oil starts to emerge and the bottom of the pan begins to brown lightly (10-12 minutes). Peel, quarter, and core the apples and chop them very finely in the food processor. Add them to the frying mixture when it is ready and stir and fry another minute or two. Add 2 quarts water or unseasoned broth plus the herbs and spices (but not the salt) and bring to a boil, then simmer a few minutes. Peel potato, chunk it then puree it in the food processor with 1/2 cup water. Add this mixture to the soup and simmer 10 minutes, stirring frequently. The soup will thicken. Add the salt and simmer a little more. Dilute with some water if too thick. Add the ale or lager, and the grated cheese. Simmer 5-10 minutes, stirring often. Taste the soup and add salt as needed (the meat and vegetable bits will soak up the salt for a while). Turn off the heat and let sit 10 minutes.

Taste a final time and add salt if needed. Stir in the chopped parsley. The soup is best if made ahead, refrigerated, and reheated to serve (check the seasoning). Serve dusted with a little more parsley, minced.

3 Comments:

Anonymous mandy davis said...

This soup sound delicious. I have been cooking a lot more since Pilar was born, trying to take good care of the family. However, I'm not too adventurous in the kitchen, I like the security of a recipe. Thanks for sharing all of the great ideas

7:05 PM  
Blogger Tim Dondero said...

Thanks, Mandy. This is a good one in cold weather. It sold well at the family deli yesterday. Tim

7:54 AM  
Blogger tracespace said...

just had this for lunch in may 2009 right after a dentist appt and it was not only perfect for my teeth, it was delish. i considered stopping again on my way home for dinner.

10:21 AM  

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