I hope you’ll forgive me if I run a chowder recipe every so often. Since writing “Chowderland” (Storey Publishing, 2015), my chowder repertoire has expanded, and I make it more often than ever. It’s especially nice to have discovered or developed several summery chowders that showcase vegetables at the height of their season. This squash chowder is a case in point. An especially suitable accompaniment is Crisp Salt and Pepper Biscuits.


When your garden or farmers market overfloweth with summer squash – whether it be yellow crookneck or green or yellow zucchini or patty pan – make a pot of this quick, scrumptious chowder. Also included in this brew are late-summer long skinny peppers known as Italian frying or Cubanelle, and thin-skinned new potatoes. A handful of cheese enriches the soup and adds pretty color.

Makes 4 to 5 servings

4 ounces bacon, cut into ½-inch dice (about 1 cup)

2 tablespoons butter, plus more if necessary

1 large onion, sliced

1 red, green, or yellow Italian frying pepper (also called Cubanelle), chopped

2 tablespoons flour

1 (32-ounce) box shelf-stable chicken broth

2 cups half-and-half

1 pound red- or yellow-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, halved, and sliced (about 3 cups)

½ teaspoon salt, plus more if needed

1 pound summer squash (any type) cut into ½- to 3/4-inch slices or chunks (about 3 cups)

1½ tablespoons chopped thyme leaves

1½ tablespoons chopped tarragon leaves

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Freshly ground black pepper

Liquid hot pepper sauce

Cook the bacon in a large heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat until crisp and the fat is rendered, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove cooked bits with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and reserve. You should have about 2 tablespoons of fat in the pot. Pour off any excess; if not enough fat, make up the difference with extra butter.

Add the 2 tablespoons butter and cook the onion over medium heat until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add flour and whisk until thick and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and half-and-half and whisk over high heat until the mixture comes to a simmer. Add the potatoes and salt and simmer, covered, over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add the squash, thyme and tarragon and continue to cook until the potatoes and squash are both very tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the chowder from the heat and stir in the cheese. Return the bacon bits to the chowder and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the chowder sit at cool room temperature for at least an hour or, better yet, refrigerate overnight.

Reheat over low heat and ladle into bowls. Pass the hot sauce at the table.


Not your fluffy mile-high biscuits, these are designed to be less than an inch tall, with a crisp bite akin to a cracker. Black pepper adds a subtle kick and a generous sprinkling of flaky sea salt is a lovely final fillip. There are several types of flaky sea salt, including Maldon salt, produced in England, which has soft flakes and is beloved by chefs for its pure flavor, absence of bitterness, and extreme saltiness.

Makes about 16 biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon table salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut in chunks

3 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening, cut in chunks

¾ cup cold whole milk, plus about 1 tablespoon for brushing biscuit tops

1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, such as Maldon salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a food processor, combine flour, salt, pepper, baking powder and sugar and pulse to blend. Distribute chunks of butter and shortening over the flour and pulse 8 to 10 times, until most of the shortening is about the size of peas. Slowly pour the ¾ cup of milk through the feed tube, pulsing until the dough begins to clump together. (To make by hand, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and shortening and use your fingers to rub the mixture together until most of the shortening is the size of peas. Add the milk all at once and stir with a fork to make a soft dough.)

Turn out onto a lightly floured board, gather into a ball, and knead 5 to 10 times until smooth. Roll to a scant ½-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch cutter or a floured glass, cut biscuits and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Reroll and cut the scraps once. (Biscuits can be shaped up to 3 hours ahead. Refrigerate, loosely covered.)

Brush tops with the remaining 1 tablespoon milk and sprinkle with the sea salt. Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until pale golden and risen. Serve hot or warm. (Can be made a few hours ahead. If making ahead, under bake slightly and reheat in a 400-degree oven for 5 minutes.)

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks. She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted via Facebook at:


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