This recipe is adapted from my favorite cookbook, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, that I can always count on for recipes that seem simple but are then turn out to be surprisingly flavorful. My recipe lists the veggies that I used, but it's flexible and you can use pretty much any winter vegetables that you like- although the leeks are essential here, so leave those in.
Winter Vegetable Chowder
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
For the Milk:
2 cups milk (I used 2%)
2 stems of parsley
4 stems fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
For the Soup:
2 tablespoons butter
2 leeks, white and light green parts, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups rutabaga, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced
2 bay leaves
2 stems of fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1. Put the ingredients for the milk in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Cover the pot and set aside while you make the rest of the soup.
2. Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium low. Add the vegetables, bay leaves, and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium low for 10 minutes. Add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.
3. Pour the milk through a strainer directly into the soup. Taste and season to taste with salt and pepper (since the broth is mostly water, you will need a generous amount of salt). Stir in chopped parsley and serve.