Bacon Cauliflower Chowder

I love soup.  My husband loves soup.  We love to take whatever random vegetables and leftovers that we can find in our fridge and freezer and throw it all together into a pot, let it simmer for awhile, and let the delicious aromas work their way through the house.  It’s great.

This week, I actually found a recipe on a blog called Damn Delicious for Cauliflower Chowder.  I was intrigued.  I like cauliflower.  Really I like anything with vegetables in it.  I messed around with the recipe a little bit, making small changes to fit my picky(ish) palette.  I added a whole pound of bacon rather than 4 strips.  My philosophy on bacon is that if you’re gonna have it, you might as well have a lot of it.  Otherwise what’s the point?  I left out the celery because I knew it would go bad in my fridge.  I never use up the whole pack of celery.  What a waste. I used slightly different spices because I like to play with spices.  Altogether it only took about 45 minutes to put it all together.  We do not have much in terms of leftovers.  It will probably be gone by the time I get home from work today 🙂

To start out, you should make sure you have all your ingredients.  You need:

  • 1 pound of bacon
  • 3 carrotsIMG_0233
  • an onion (use half if you’re not a big onion lover)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • a head of cauliflower
  • 4 cups of chicken broth (I used water and bouillon cubes)
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup of flower
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • mesquite seasoning (or whatever seasoning you like, really)

To start off, fry up your bacon.  I like to cut mine into little bite-sized pieces before I fry it.  That way, when I take it out of the pan, I’m not as tempted to eat pieces.  The temptation is still very real, but I don’t have to handle it.  I can just leave it on the plate and try my hardest not to mess with it.  While your bacon is frying, peel and chop up your carrots and toss them into a stockpot with about 2 tablespoons of butter.  But don’t turn on the stove quite yet!  Chop up your onion first.  Since my husband and I both like onion, I don’t try to get the pieces too small.  I hate chopping onions, so the faster I can do it, the better.  This onion was particularly awful.  I barely broke the surface before my eyes started watering.  My husband smelled it from the other room and opened all the windows.  It took me far to long to chop this particular onion simply because I had to keep stopping to wipe tears from my eyes.  Ridiculous.  Once your onion is chopped, put it in the pot with the carrots and butter.  If you chop your own garlic, add that too.  Otherwise, put 2 tablespoons(ish) of minced garlic in.  Turn on the stove and start the simmering process.

IMG_0234                   IMG_0239

See that nice small bacon?  So much easier to mix and deal with afterwards.

While your bacon continues to fry and your onions/carrots/garlic are cooking, chop up your cauliflower.  I hate chopping cauliflower.  It’s messy.  If anyone has a good way to chop it where it doesn’t end up over half my counter with random pieces on the floor, please let me know and save me a lot of frustration.  When it’s all chopped, mix it in with the carrots and onions.  Saute it for 3-4 minutes… or as long as you want really.  Just don’t let it get too mushy.  After 3-4 minutes, add 1/4 of a cup of flour and mix it well, so it coats all the vegetables.  Keep mixing it for 2-3 minutes or until the flour starts browning

IMG_0243

See this picture? With the flour? This was just about when my kitchen is starting to smell.

Something I did not consider when choosing this recipe – cauliflower does not have a good smell.  Onions don’t have a good smell.  If you want your house to smell good.  This recipe is not for you.  On the other hand, the taste is awesome, so don’t give up yet!

So now, your bacon should be done.  Take it out of the pan and put it on a paper towel on a plate to drain.  This will help get rid of the grease.  It will sit there long enough that really it shouldn’t be greasy at all by the time you get it into your soup.  Add the chicken broth and milk slowly, mixing as you go.

IMG_0242IMG_0246See that nice crispy bacon?

And the soup is just waiting to boil.

Keep stirring your soup and bring it to a boil.  Once it reaches a boil, put a lid on the pot and set the timer for 15 or so minutes.  You want to let it boil until the cauliflower is cooked through.  I stirred it every few minutes to make sure nothing was burning on the bottom of the pan or anything.  This is also the time you can take to add in salt, pepper, and mesquite seasoning to your taste.  I tasted my soup 4 or 5 times until I was happy with it.

Once your soup is done you can let it simmer for awhile or serve it right away.  Mix the bacon in 1-2 minutes before you serve it, but it really doesn’t need to be heated at all.  I let it simmer for a few minutes while my biscuits finished baking.  I didn’t think it smelled good, but it tasted great!

IMG_0254

The finished product! I love veggies in my soup!

IMG_0252

Don’t I have the most adorable timer? I love penguins. I got engaged in the penguin house at the Omaha Zoo. This was a wedding gift. I might be a little bit ridiculous…

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