What’s a Chowder?
What makes this soup a chowder? By definition, the fact that it’s thickened with a roux and creamy. But, I think it really feels like a chowder because of the bacon. This cauliflower chowder really reminds me of a great bowl of clam chowder and I think it’s due to the bacon fat that I use to cook the mirepoix. That smoky, porky flavor mimics the backbone of every bowl of New England clam chowder I’ve ever had.
♥ Related: Red Curry Kabocha Squash Soup
This isn’t a recipe that’s simply trying to mimic another one though; it’s not a faux clam chowder. The cauliflower is the star here and comes through with its own slightly sweet, earthy flavor. Just one potato adds some thickness to the soup and some additional heartiness.
Cauliflower Chowder: Perfect for Soup Season
This cauliflower chowder is a flavorful, comforting soup. We’ve made this recipe a few times over the past few weeks as I’ve been testing it. It’s a soup I know I will be returning to very often this winter. Pair it with a slice of crusty bread slathered in butter on a cold day and you’ll be happy and full of hygge.
Cauliflower Chowder | Creamy, Comforting, & Easy!
- 3 slices bacon
- 1 tbsp bacon fat from cooking bacon
- 1 cup onions diced small, ~ ½ medium-to-large onion
- 1 cup carrots diced small, ~ 1 large carrot
- ¼ cup shallots diced fine, ~ ½ medium shallot
- 4-5 cups cauliflower chopped into small bite-sized pieces, ~ ½ large head of cauliflower
- 1 potato peeled and diced small
- 4 cups vegetable broth chicken broth would work, too
- 4 tbsp butter
- 4 tbsp flour
- 1 cup half & half
- salt & pepper for seasoning along the way
- 2 green onions sliced for garnish
- Heat a medium-to-large Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the bacon slices to the pot. Cut the bacon slices in half if they are too long to fit into the bottom of the pan. Cook until the bacon is cooked and crispy, flipping during cooking. This should take about 10 minutes. Once the bacon is cooked, move it to a paper towel lined plate.
- Drain all but about 1 tbsp of bacon fat from the pan and add the onions, carrots, and shallots. Add a pinch of salt to the vegetables. Cook over medium heat until they are soft and the onions and shallots are translucent. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower, potato, and vegetable broth. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook until the cauliflower and potatoes are very tender.
- While your soup is simmering, make your roux. Place a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter and let the butter melt. Once the butter has melted, add the flour. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
- When the cauliflower and potatoes are cooked through and very tender, whisk the half & half into the roux. Mix well so that the roux is fully incorporated into the half & half and it's a smooth mixture. Then whisk the half & half roux mixture into the soup. Bring the soup back up to a low boil and then simmer until the soup is thickened. This should take just a few minutes. If you want, use a potato masher to mash some of the vegetables just a little bit to thicken the soup a bit more; but I like to have plenty of chunks, so don't go too crazy.
- Taste the soup. Add more salt and some freshly ground pepper to taste. Ladle into soup bowls. Crumble bacon on top of soup and garnish with green onions.
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