Yvonne's Cauliflower Chowder

Yvonne's Cauliflower Chowder 

1 head cauliflower, cored and chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T butter or oil
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken/veggie broth (I use low sodium)
2 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 T chopped flat leaf parsley plus more for garnish
1 T toasted walnuts per serving as garnish
2 tsp crumbled bacon per serving as garnish

Over medium high heat melt the butter and saute onions, carrots, and celery about 5 minutes until onions are translucent. Add the minced garlic and saute one more minute. Add broth, water, bay leaf, and cauliflower, stir to combine. Simmer 15 minutes until cauliflower becomes tender. Remove from heat and discard the bay leaf.  Using a potato masher mash the vegetables to your desired texture. (I prefer a semi-pureed texture where most of the vegetables are in smaller pieces but still noticeable.) If you prefer a velvet smooth texture use a hand blender to puree or a blender to blend vegetables smooth. Taste the soup and determine the salt and pepper balance. Meanwhile begin working on the roux to thicken the soup into a chowder.

For the Roux:
2 T butter
6 T flour
1 cup cream or milk

In a saucepan melt the butter on medium heat add flour and whisk until smooth. Add the cream little by little whisking it into the flour mixture to until the roux becomes silky smooth. Remove from heat and set aside a moment.

To finish the chowder add the shredded cheese to the vegetables stir until melted. Incorporate the roux into the chowder stirring and cook about 15 minutes until it thickens slightly. Remove from heat and gently stir in chopped parsley.

Ladle chowder into bowls, sprinkle with toasted walnuts and bacon. Garnish with a spring of parsley.


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