Potatoes and onions are the backbone of my winter dinner repertoire — they make an appearance at nearly every meal, in one form or another. They are typically a supporting character but in the case of this chowder, they take center stage and it’s definitely a two thumbs up kind of chowder. It’s hearty, full of flavor, and freezes well — an all-around good recipe for all those winter nights we have to look forward to!
Potato Chowder with Leeks, Onions, and Shallots
4 ounces of pancetta or bacon, diced
2 pounds of russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cups onions, peeled and sliced
2 leeks, rinsed and sliced (white and light green parts only)
4 shallots, peeled and sliced
5 stalks of celery, sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped/
1/2 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped
Kosher salt and pepper
Sauté the pancetta or bacon over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven or stock pot until browned and crispy. Remove the cooked pancetta/bacon from the pot and set aside. Remove the grease from the pan (leave any leftover brown bits in the pan) and melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, shallots, and celery and sauté until they are softened and just beginning to turn brown. Add the leeks, garlic, and the herbs. Cook until the leeks are softened. Add the wine and simmer, uncovered, until the wine is reduced by half.
Add the bay leaf and chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and half-and-half, return to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked. Add the pancetta or bacon and serve.