I say cold nights because it's January and all. But it's been t-shirt weather here the past few days in Georgia. I guess that shouldn't really surprise me anymore. Here in Georgia, we can can be bundled up one day and sunbathing the next. We all like to act annoyed by this but really it's kind of special. There aren't a lot of places where you get such variety. But in case you are someplace cold, I have a comforting soup for you. Caraway Cheese can be a tad tricky to find. I was able to locate some at Whole Foods. FYI: Publix doesn't carry it.
Cold Weather Potato Chowder with Caraway Cheese
Makes 4 servings. Source: Sunday Soup
4 slices (4 ounces) bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1 pound red-skin potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups whole milk
1 cup (4 ounces) Havarti cheese with caraway seeds, coarsely grated
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives for garnish
Sauté bacon in a large, heavy pot set over medium heat until browned and crisp, for 3 to 4 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour out and discard all but 2 tablespoons bacon drippings.
Add onion and celery to the bacon drippings in the pot and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, for 4 to 5 minutes. Add diced potatoes and sauté for 2 minutes. Add garlic and sauté, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add chicken stock and milk to pot and bring mixture to a simmer. Cook soup at a simmer until the potatoes are tender, for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not let soup come to a boil. (Soup can be prepared to this point 1 day ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat over low heat and proceed with recipe.)
When ready to serve, add the cheese, a little at a time, to the hot soup, stirring until melted after each addition. In a small bowl, mix the butter and flour with a fork to make a paste. Whisk this mixture into the soup, a little at a time, and cook until completely blended, for 1 to 2 minutes. Taste soup and season with salt, as needed, and with freshly ground pepper.
To serve, ladle soup into 4 bowls and sprinkle each serving with chopped bacon and chives.