Potato Chowder & Bread Bowl


Well I don’t know where you are (being that there are people from five different continents periodically checking in), but where I am, it’s pretty darn cold! Weather like this puts me in the mood for things like chili, Sunday sauce… and chowder! Well, being that I already had ingredients for chowder in the house, that’s the direction I went.

Listed below is the recipe, as well as some pairing recommendations. Let me know if you try it out!

Serves 4-6 depending on portion size

Ingredients (chowder):
1 stick Unsalted Butter
1/3c All Purpose Flour
1c White Wine
1c Chicken Stock
2c Water
4c Milk
4 Large Potatoes, large chop
1 Large White Onion, sliced
3 Medium Carrots, large chop
1c Frozen Peas, thawed
1/2lb Deli Ham, chopped
1tbsp Salt
2tsp Ground Black Pepper
2tsp Garlic Powder
2tsp Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
3/4c Grated Parmesan Cheese

Ingredients (bread bowls, makes four):
2 envelopes Dry Active Yeast
1 1/4c Warm Water
1/2tsp Granulated White Sugar (for yeast activation)

4c All Purpose Flour
2tsp Salt
2tsp Granulated White Sugar
1tsp Dried Basil Flakes
1tsp Dried Parsley Flakes
1c Grated Parmesan Cheese
3tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted but not hot

1tsp Olive Oil (for bowl)
1tsp Olive Oil (for brush)
1 Large Egg, beaten

Heat a large sauce pot at medium heat, melt the stick of butter. Once melted add your flour and continuously whisk to form a roux, simmer until golden in color. Add white wine and continue to whisk, the roux and wine should form a thin paste. Add water, chicken stock and milk, whisk until the roux is fully integrated into the liquids. I suggest using a wooden spoon after whisking to scrape along the bottom of the pot to make sure that none of the roux stuck to the bottom. If this happens it could burn, giving an acrid flavor to your soup. Add your potatoes, onions and carrots, as well as your salt, pepper, garlic powder and crushed red pepper (optional for those that like some spice). Stir everything together, reduce heat to low, and cover. Cook for three hours on low, stirring periodically.

While the soup is cooking it’s time to work on the bread.

Preheat your oven to 350F. In a measuring cup, or bowl, or whatever vessel you want, mix your warm water, dry yeast and 1/2tsp sugar. Stir together and then set in a warm place… I typically use my stove top when the oven is at temp. It’s warm but not hot. If your stovetop gets too hot you’ll need to find an alternative, maybe right next to it. After 15 minutes you should have a nice bloom.

While waiting for the yeast to activate… In a mixing bowl combine your flour, salt, sugar, basil, parsley and parmesan. Add your yeast and water and mix at a low setting, using a bread hook attachment. Add your melted butter a little at a time, mixing thoroughly between doses. Once all of the butter is added increase the mixing speed to medium and allow to mix for 5 minutes. You’ll have to use some of your own judgment here… if the dough seems too wet add just a touch more flour, too dry more water. But be careful, you don’t want something that is too dense. Once it’s done mixing it should have a medium density with a slight tackiness to the touch.

Turn your dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes until you have a good elastic consistency. Place into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a towel and set in a warm, draft free place. Once again, I use my stovetop, but as I said earlier, if your stovetop gets too hot find an alternative. You do not want to start cooking the edges of your dough, you’ll ruin the batch. Rest your dough until it doubles in size, roughly one hour or slightly more.

After risen, once again turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and cut into four equal portions. Lightly knead each portion for less than a minute and form into a ball. Place the balls onto baking sheets lined with wax paper (you’ll want to use two, with two balls on each, unless you have a very large baking sheet). Cover the dough with dry towels and once again set in a warm, draft free place. Allow to rise again for 30 minutes.

In a bowl beat your egg and olive oil. Brush the individual dough balls with the mixture, then make cross slices on the top with a sharp knife to give the dough room to rise in the oven. They don’t have to be deep cuts, you’re simply scoring the dough so when it rises the pressure has a direction. Cook at 350F for 35 minutes, you’ll know it’s done when you tap the bowls and they sound hollow. Remove from heat and allow to rest.

Once the bread bowls have cool slice off a thin section of the top and core out the interior of the bowl. Set the “guts” aside, serve with the soup for dipping.

Ok, back to the soup… With 10 minutes remaining add your frozen peas, chopped ham and grated parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted into the soup.

After the three hours is up, remove from heat, ladle into your bread bowls, and enjoy!

Sooooo… as far as wine pairings go for this, I actually lean towards a medium bodied white with subtle acidity and minerality. You can go red here, with the richness, and ham, and potatoes… but I personally prefer something that will cut through all of that. How about this, I’ll add a red to the list that will work. Good? Ok good.

Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA – Eyrie is one of the true icons of wine in the United States. When David Lett started Eyrie back in 1970, he was one of the first to plant Pinot Noir in Willamette Valley, the first to plant Chardonnay in Willamette Valley, and the first person to plant Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio) in the ENTIRE UNITED STATES. His entry level PG is still predominantly from those original vines, though there has been some replanting along the years. Despite being stainless aged, the wine has great depth and mouthfeel, between being predominantly mature vines, as well as undergoing 100% malolactic fermentation in tank. This is what allows the wine to stand up to the chowder, but the fruit, acidity and minerality help cut through the richness. Just be warned, this one may be hard to find with only 3,000 cases made per vintage! ($17-21 retail)

Château Cantelaudette Graves de Vayres Blanc Prestige, Bordeaux, FR – Cantelaudette is relatively small production, with only about 10,000 cases made per vintage of their Blanc. For those not familiar, Graves de Vayres is not actually a satellite appellation of Graves, but rather is the northernmost part of the Entre Deux Mers appellation overlooking the Dordogne River. This estate was established by the Chatelier family in 1870, and is considered one of the top values in the region. Most Bordeaux Blancs are predominantly Sauvignon Blanc, however, 85% of the blend in Cantelaudette is Semillon, adding significant weight and complexity to this wine. This allows it to stand up to the depth of the chowder, but the bit of Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle give it the lift and acidity you need to cut through the richness. This wine is an amazing bargain! ($12-15 retail)

Bodegas Hermanos de Peciña Cosecha – Peciña has recently become on of my favorite Rioja producers. Though relatively young, the vineyard was started in 1992 and their first vintage was 1998, they have a great pedigree. Pedro Peciña was the winemaker and lead enologist for La Rioja Alta for upwards of 30 years, which speaks volumes! Their Cosecha is their entry level red, entirely unoaked (known as a Joven). This wine, with 95% Tempranillo, is very traditional in style but the stainless aging lends a freshness to it. It has beautiful fruit up front while still maintaining balancing acidity and a round tannic backbone. This is one you don’t buy just a bottle, you buy the case! ($11-13 retail)



Published by Derek Martin

Husband, dad, home cook, wine snob... lover of bacon. I have spent my entire adult life surrounded by fine food and fine wines, starting with fifteen years working at, or running, some of New Jersey's top restaurants, and now the last two years working for one of the top fine wine distributors in the United States. I have absorbed a ton of information on food, wine, pairings and techniques during those seventeen years, and I'd love to share what I've learned with you!

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