There is no denying that our family loves the winter. The snow. The cold. The rosy cheeks and smiles seen peeking over a hot cup of cocoa. Winter is the perfect opportunity for some fun family time. Whether it’s shoveling, building a snowman, sledding, or building epic snow forts, we love our time together.
Living in the Northeast sometimes winter can be, let’s just say, a bit on the chilly side, and occasionally on the bone chilling side. With temperatures slated to be in the teens and single digits this week, the conditions will be perfect for some homemade soup. My husband works outside nearly all day. When he arrives home, thoroughly chilled to the core, there is little that hits the spot better than a hearty, piping hot bowl of soup.
Of late I have been a bit smitten with cauliflower. Who knew that this simple vegetable could be so versatile and delicious. Whether roasted, made into a healthy cream sauce, or even used as a pizza crust (still have to try that one), cauliflower is so much more than a colorless side dish.
In the recipe that follows, I use cauliflower, an entire head mind you, for the base of my faux potato chowder. I’ve always loved potato chowder, but there’s no way around it, traditional recipes are quite carb heavy and loaded with butter and cream. Enter cauliflower. When cooked up and pureed, a downright silky and luxurious sauce emerges. My soup recipe is free of butter, cream, and milk, but you would never know it.
This soup is simple to make, won’t bust your budget, and is a great way to sneak some vegetables into a meal. I do admit that the addition of a bit of cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon may not be the most nutritious of garnishes, but the quantities are minimal and are the perfect complement to the soup. You can certainly opt for reduced fat cheese or turkey bacon to trim down the fat content.
I hope you enjoy!
Loaded Cauliflower Potato Chowder Soup
1 large head cauliflower, broken up into florets, about 10 cups
2 cloves fresh garlic, halved
1/2 of a small yellow onion, halved
1 large russet potato, cut into 1/4″ cubes
2 – 32oz. boxes chicken stock
1/4-1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (begin with the smaller quantity and season to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 strips crispy, cooked bacon, crumbled
3 scallions, ends trimmed, whites and greens thinly sliced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Add the cauliflower florets, garlic, onion, and potatoes to a large stock pot. Add in the broth. Use enough broth to just cover the vegetables, allowing to tops to poke through the broth. Using too much broth will create a thin soup. We’re looking to make a thick and hearty soup. Better to skimp a bit on the broth now. If the end result is too thick for your liking, you can add a bit more broth at the end of the cooking process.
Bring the soup to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for approximately 20 minutes. The vegetables should be fork tender.
Puree the vegetables and broth with an immersion blender until smooth, but with a few small chunks remaining. If you do not have an immersion blender, you can simply use a traditional blender fitted with a top vent. Fill the blender container no more than half way to prevent the hot liquid from splattering. Work in several small batches.
Add in the salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle into bowls and top with a bit of cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon, and sliced scallions.