Sunday, May 2, 2010

Wild Leek, Lovage & Potato Chowder

1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
1 Tbsp (15 ml) butter
1 cup (250 ml) lovage or celery, sliced
2 cup (500 ml) leeks, light green and white part, sliced
6 good size potatoes, skin on, diced
1/4 cup (60 ml) wild rice
4 cups (1 liter) cold water
1/2 lb (250 grams) chicken breast - optional
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) sea salt
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) red chile pepper flakes, dried (optional temperature boost)
1 cup (250 ml) organic whole cow's milk - I used Harmony organic
1 cup (250 ml) + cheese like cheddar or Swiss
Sprigs of fresh lovage for garnish (or sliced green onions)
Vegetarian version - omit butter, chicken, milk and cheese and it will still be very good.  I have made vegan and lacto-vegetarian versions many times.

1. Heat olive oil and/or butter in soup pot over medium high heat.
2. Clean up the wild leeks.  Slice green and white part of leek and add to the soup pot.  I grew these leeks in the back yard - transplanted a few years ago from the forest.

3.  Add sliced lovage (or celery),  and the diced (skin on) potatoes as well as the dry wild rice and cold water.  The photo below is of a sprig of my garden lovage.

4.  Cut boneless chicken breast into bite-size pieces about 1 inch (2.5 cm) square.  Add to pot with the salt, pepper, and crushed red chili pepper flakes (optional).  Cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until potatoes and wild rice are tender.  Chicken is a nice addition to this soup but it is also very good without it.
5.  Mash potatoes in pot using a potato masher.  Mash half of the mixture to create texture and help thicken the soup.  Stir in the whole milk and grated cheese.  I have been using the Harmony organic whole milk.  It is 3.5% milk fat but I don't drink it - just for coffee and cooking.  If you haven't tasted organic milk you should try it - very sweet and delicious.

6.  To serve, garnish bowls of soup with a sprig of fresh lovage or other herb.  You can serve with additional grated cheese if you wish.

NUTRITION FACTS (per 1 1/2 cup - 375 ml serving): 260 calories, 10 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 290 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, 3 g fibre, 4 g sugar, 15 g protein.  %Daily Values based on a 2,000 calorie diet are 4% vitamin A, 50% vitamin C, 15% calcium and 10% iron.

© Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc.  Visit me at  

Try something new at my next cooking class - Meal from Oaxaca (Mexico) on Saturday June 5th.  The menu features fresh and vibrant foods with the flavours of Southern Mexico.  For registration and information please visit my website.

April's showers bring May flowers!

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