Frugal Foodie Mama: Potato & Summer Squash Chowder

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Potato & Summer Squash Chowder

So earlier this week I showed you just how incredibly easy (and non-labor intensive!) making chicken broth from scratch is. (You missed that post?  No problem.  Just CLICK HERE. ;) ) Now you need a crazy good, cozy, comfy fall recipe to use it in, right?
How about a creamy, delicious bowl of Potato & Summer Squash Chowder?

I went 100% local and picked up Russian Fingerling Potatoes from one of my favorite vendors from the farmers market.  Another local farmer also turned me onto to how incredibly delicious and tender the smaller summer squash are.  Usually I think bigger is better (and goes further).  But not with summer squash.  I will never buy another larger, dark yellow summer squash again.  Look for squash with a pale, almost milky yellow color and that are less than a foot long.  Trust me on this, and thank me later. ;)
I also lucked out that another farmer had thick cut bacon available for sale.  I mean, you have to top potato chowder with bacon, right?  If you can't find a good local thick cut bacon, just pick up the thickest you can find at your local grocery store.

What you will need:
About 1 lb of potatoes, chopped into 1 inch pieces 
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups of chicken broth (homemade! homemade!)
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup half 'n half
1/2 cup of water
1 small light yellow summer squash, chopped
Salt & pepper, to taste
2-3 springs of fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 lb of thick cut bacon

First start by prepping and chopping everything.  I usually do this and set them aside in small bowls.  Get all the veggies, the potatoes, and the garlic chopped and minced.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Line a RIMMED baked sheet with aluminum foil.  Please make sure the baking sheet is rimmed.  (Trust me on this.  I speak from personal experience.  It is not fun setting your oven on fire! ;) )  Chop your bacon in about 1 inch chunks and place them in a single layer on the lined baking sheet.

Next heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or a stock pot over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and onions, and saute until tender about 2 minutes.  Add the chicken broth, milk, half 'n half, and water.  Heat until you bring it to a slow boil.

Once the broth has been brought to a boil, add the potatoes and summer squash.  Boil for 3-5 minutes, and then reduce to low heat and allow it to simmer for 15-20 minutes until the potato chunks are fork tender.

While the chowder is simmering, pop the bacon chunks into the oven.  It will take them about 15 minutes to get crispy and yummy.  Remove from the oven and set aside.
At this point, take a potato masher or the back of a large wooden spoon and mash up some of the potatoes and squash in the pot.  This will make your soup a bit thicker.  But make sure to leave a decent amount of chunks!  This is a chowder after all. ;)
Be sure to taste your soup and add salt and pepper to taste.  During the last 2 minutes of cooking time, add the fresh parsley.

Ladle your Potato & Summer Squash Chowder into deep bowls.  I topped mine with some shredded cheese and a few chunks of the thick cut bacon. 
Spoon up and enjoy!  :)