Bacon Roasted Cauliflower Chowder

dinnerreservationsI haven’t been to the grocery store this week and was at a loss as to what to make for dinner tonight.

The meat & cheese drawer gave me a pound of uncooked bacon fresh from the butcher, a wedge of parmesan cheese and another small chunk from a wedge of aged gouda-parmesan.

In the crisper was a bag of fresh sweet mini peppers, a head of cauliflower that was nearing extinction, half a red onion, some carrots, celery, a Rubbermaid container with some still viable sliced Portobello mushrooms and a few other items that found their way right into the compost bucket.

Not a lot to work with, but I’m a gamer (and thankfully my husband will try anything I make) so I trudged forward hoping for some inspiration.

A wrinkly but still salvageable Poblano chili was on the counter and inspiration for a nice warm soup struck.

Bacon & Roasted Cauliflower Chowder

  • ½ Cup Sliced Portobello Mushrooms
  • 6 Slices Bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • ¼ Poblano Chili finely diced
  • ½ Red Onion diced
  • ¼ Cup diced Orange Sweet Bell Pepper
  • 1 Carrot chopped
  • 2 Ribs Celery chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 Medium Head Cauliflower
  • 4 Cups Beef Broth (4 Bullion Cubes in 4 Cups Boiling Water)
  • 1 – 5 ounce can Evaporated Milk
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper to taste (1 added about 2 tsp)
  • Reserved Rind of Parmesan or Parmesan-Gouda Cheese
  • Shredded Parmesan or Parmesan-Gouda Cheese (if desired)

Cut the cauliflower in thirds, trim off the stem, spritz with olive or coconut oil spray and roast 45 minutes at 400 degrees.

sweatvegetablesCook the bacon over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Add the diced Poblano chili and continue to cook until bacon is crisp but not too brown. Remove both from pan and drain on paper towel.

In the same pan add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and bell pepper.  Saute’ about 8 minutes over medium high heat.  Add the mushrooms and return the bacon and Poblano chili to the pan. Continue cooking another 10 minutes while bacon fat breaks down some more then switch heat to low.

addcauliflowerRoughly chop 1/3 of the roasted cauliflower into small pieces and add to the pan. Add the bay leaves and seasoned pepper, stir and cook on low about 5 minutes to allow the cauliflower to absorb the flavors of the bacon and other vegetables.

Put the remaining 2/3 of the cooled roasted cauliflower and 2 cups of the cooled broth into the Vitamix or Food Processor/Blender container and process on low until well combined. It will have plenty of texture, but if it’s not thin enough to easily pour, add a bit more of the reserved broth.

Increase heat to medium, then add the can of evaporated milk, a can of water and the contents of the Vitamix container to the pan. Stir well to incorporate. Stir in the remaining broth, the reserved cheese rinds (if you have any) and bring soup just to a boil. Return heat to low and simmer about 20 minutes.

soupRemove the bay leaves before serving.  Serve with toasted French bread chunks/croutons or crusty bread and butter.  Sprinkle chowder with shredded parmesan or parmesan-gouda cheese and chopped parsley if desired.

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