February 18, 2015

Cauliflower Chowder

Ever end up with an ingredient sitting in your refrigerator because the menu you had planned didn't happen and this odd-ball ingredient just doesn't fit in anywhere else? Happens to me all. the. time.

Even though I'm a pretty meticulous menu planner- life happens. This time, life happened, and a head of cauliflower ended up in my refrigerator for almost 2 weeks, begging to be used for something...

Today when I sat down to plan our menu for the coming week, I was determined to use that cauliflower... and to find a delicious way to do so. Then, my hubby came home sick, and I knew what I had to do: soup. (it heals everything!)

I have made cauliflower soup before, but wanted to try something new. (My last foray into cauliflower soup resulted in a puree that reminded me of very well seasoned baby food and ended up turning me off when it came to eating the leftovers...)

Today, while looking for inspiration, I found a recipe for this Cauliflower Chowder, and immediately decided it was worth a shot. My hubby loves milk/cream based soups, and I love that this recipe incorporates milk without making it heavy or unhealthy. The cauliflower and veggies are still the stars!

I was very pleased with the end result! I dressed my bowl up with some toasted Panko breadcrumbs, and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese. YUM! It is definitely simple, hearty, and comforting and I can't wait to have the leftovers!

Cauliflower Chowder

Serves 6
Adapted from recipe found on damndelicious

2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/4 cup all purpose flour
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup reduced fat milk
1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in cauliflower and bay leaf. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Whisk in flour until lightly browned- about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and milk. Cook, whisking continuously, until broth slightly thickened, (about 3-4 minutes). Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until cauliflower are tender, about 12-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer about 1/2 of the soup to a blender and puree; stir puree mixture back into soup. Dish into your favorite bowl; top with toppings of your choice, (green onions, cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon, toasted panko, and whatever else you can imagine!), and enjoy!!

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