Ahh so where were we??? Yes…. Autumn. Seeing as how it’s the beginning of November, to say that Fall is in full swing, is an understatement! The days are considerably (miserably) shorter, temperatures have dropped significantly and all the leaves have turned and are falling. Layers, scullies, and scarves are being donned by almost everyone you see (at least on the East coast), and all things pumpkin have resurged. So yeah, it’s most certainly autumn.
With colder weather, comes the craving for heartier fare, and stews, chowders, and roasts are just some of the dishes people are digging into. I recently had a gluten free New England clam chowder while in Los Angeles, at a cute little seafood place, and it inspired me to make some of my own. So when I came home and saw an issue of Everyday with Rachel Ray in my mailbox with a recipe for cod chowder with butternut squash and bacon, I was super excited! I thought “Perfect!”. Of course, I had to add a few of my own extras so it would have a more personally palatable touch, a la Foodie Chronicles style. (You know how I do!)
Butternut squash is not something I ever go crazy for, by any means. I like it. It’s cool, as far as starchier veggies go. But in this soup, it was exactly what was needed to make everything just… well, balanced. Not too sweet, not too starchy, just the right bite to go with the flaky cod, salty bacon, chew, earthy porcini mushrooms and crunchy sweet corn. It was almost as if all the ingredients were doing happy dance in my mouth every time I took a bite! The kinda goodness that makes you say, “Mmmmmm yeah. Uh huh.”, as you’re eating it.
Even though I used light cream instead of heavy cream as the original recipe called for, it still came out stellar. Smooth, velvety, decadent, yet not heavy it was so damn good I had seconds. It was almost like wearing your favorite cashmere sweater and sipping tea neat a fire place on a cold fall day. Yeah, just like that. Comforting and hearty, just like Fall/Winter cuisine should be.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH, COD & BACON CHOWDER
- 1 small butternut squash (peeled, seeded, diced)
- 1 lb cod fillet(s) (chopped into large pieces)
- 1 whole onion (diced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 3 stalks celery (finely chopped)
- 3.5 cups vegetable stock
- 4 slices thick cut bacon (or pancetta… diced)
- 1/2 cup clam juice
- 1/2 cup fresh sweet corn kernels
- 1/2 cup heavy or 3/4 cup light cream
- 1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms (diced)
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme
- 1.5 tbsp gluten free all purpose flour
- salt & pepper to taste
- pinch cayenne pepper *
In a large pot, cook bacon over medium/high heat, until browned and crisp (about 3-4 minutes). Add onion, celery, garlic, thyme and stir frequently, until veggies are tender and turn translucent (about 8-10 minutes). Stir in squash, mushroom and flour while stirring and cook until flour begins to brown (about 2). Add stock and clam juice, and corn, then stir. Reduce heat to lo and simmer until the squash is fork tender (about 10-15 minutes). Season with salt, pepper then add cod and stir. Cook for another 4-5 minutes, or until cod begins to flake apart easily with a fork. Stir in cream and cayenne, and let stand for about 8-10 minutes before serving.