Cold Weather Potato Chowder With Caraway Cheese 07-Feb-2011

Another recipe from Betty Rossbottom’s “Sunday Soup” cookbook, page 59

From the book:

“This chowder, which is prepared traditionally with bacon, onions, and potatoes that are simmered in a mixture of stock and milk, is enriched with a final addition of grated havarti cheese studded with caraway seeds. The buttery cheese blends beautifully with all the ingredients, plus it adds an extra hint of creaminess to the soup’s mixture.”


  • Servings: 4
  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Start to Finish: 30 to 35 minutes
  • Make Ahead: partially
  • Bread: pumpernickel or unseeded rye
  • Sides: Roast Beef and Watercress with Horseradish Cream on Dark Bread (SS page 151)


  • 4 slices (4 ounces) bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (The recipe uses the bacon only as a garnish. I would double this amount of bacon and use half of it in the soup itself.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 pound red-skin potatoes, washed and cored, but not peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) havarti cheese with caraway seeds, coarsely grated
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt (we just use regular salt)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives for garnish


  1. Sauté bacon in a large, heavy pot set over medium heat until browned and crisp, for 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels to absorb the bacon grease. Pour out and discard all but 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings. (She says to do this in pot, but I would prefer to do this in a skillet as it’s easier to manage the bacon and drippings.)

  2. Add onion and celery to the drippings 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.

  3. Put chicken stock and milk into a stock pot and bring mixture to a simmer. (If you have done the bacon, onions, celery, garlic and potatoes in a seperate skillet, add half the bacon (assuming you doubled it as I mentioned above) and all the remaining ingedients to the stock pot as well.) 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 in advance. Cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat over low heat and proceed with recipe.)

  4. 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. (It struck us as odd that the thickener was butter and flour mixed, rather than using something more liquidy to suspend the flour. I think this might work better if the flour was suspended in a 1/4 cup of water or milk instead.) Taste soup and season with salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed.

  5. To serve, ladle soup into 4 bowls and sprinkle each serving with the (reserved) chopped bacon and chives.