Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Soup for One . . . or More!

I came home to an empty house quite a few days last month, as Paul stayed in Vancouver to help out with the grandkids. To be honest, I like the solitude, although I wouldn't want a steady diet of it. And speaking of diet, having my main chef and grocery shopper away gave me a chance to pare away a couple of pounds that have been trying to creep back on. When I get home after a long-ish day, I don't always have much inclination to chop and peel and stir, but I made a big batch of this Cauliflower Chowder and it gave me two ample dinners, plus I had enough to pack up for two brown-bag lunches.

I thought I'd share the recipe, which I adapted from this one. I'll readily admit that my adaptation came from looking in the fridge when I got home the first night on my own and realizing that there was a whole cauliflower there, but no celery nor parsley. (I tend to be running from office to ferry at the end of the day, rarely managing to budget time for stopping at the grocery store -- it's amazing how long you can eke out a decent survival from the contents of fridge and pantry.) I had no reason to avoid the carbs in a potato, so I threw one in. And while I used bacon this time, I think the recipe could be quite satisfying without it -- I might even make it next time with scallops added just at the end. And for the lactose-intolerant, I'd just use more stock instead of the milk, and I think I'd blend half the cauliflower to thicken the broth.

So,
chop and sauté 2 or 3 slices of bacon
 Drain most of the fat, leaving enough to sauté the onions, etc., and put the now-slightly-crispy bacon aside.
Chop and sauté one large onion until wilted and translucent
 Add diced carrot and potato (I was fridge-cleaning, and found 2 carrots -- I wouldn't want more than that, I don't think, but I might also add sweet red peppers if I had some to use up. Ditto celery). Give these a few minutes sautéeing and stirring
 and then add a whole cauliflower, chopped as coarsely or as finely as you like.
 You may pause at this point, if you wish, to admire a favourite knife (although this step may not affect the outcome of the soup). Which would yours be? This one was purchased at Dehillerin in Paris, a shop that you must visit if you get a chance -- although it can be a bit intimidating and/or overwhelming. This knife was brought back when Pater and I were still willing to check our luggage, and I'd almost be willing to check a bag again in order to bring back another.
 Okay, now. Pour in your chicken stock (or vegetable broth if you're not a willing carnivore). 4 cups should do it, and since mine was already seasoned, I didn't add any herbs or spices to the pot, simply let the veggies simmer and meld their robust flavours, the onion's sharpness against the sweetness of the carrot and the slight nuttiness of the cauliflower.
 Let it simmer for at least 15 minutes, before stirring in a cup or two of milk and adding the bacon back in. You might even add in some cream here, especially if you decide to add scallops. But you could leave out the milk and blend all or half of the veggies for another option. One night, realizing I didn't have enough milk and noting that Paul hadn't used all the buttermilk he'd bought for scone-making, I added a cup of buttermilk in place of the milk (which got me thinking I could also add yoghurt. Or sour cream).

You know what's left for you to do now, right? Exactly! Bowl, spoon, and bon appetit!

























I'll make this again some night when Paul or I have made bread. It will be a delicious, simple meal with a warm, fresh, yeasty slice or two. But I liked it very well on its own. Let me know if you do
 too.

Happy Wednesday!

12 comments:

  1. A lovely warming soup ! and I love the idea of buttermilk adding a little tang .

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    Replies
    1. I'm such a fan of the buttermilk! Glad to hear you are as well.

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  2. I don't mind eating by myself at all! You make soup the same way as I do: using whatever is in the crisper. There is something soothing about the cauldron simmering on the stovetop. I might try the cauliflower with Indian spices (sans bacon) with a dollop of yogurt. A retirement project that I haven't tackled in almost 4 years is organizing my spices. Buen provecho!

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    Replies
    1. It's true, a simmering cauldron (great word!) on the stove is very reassuring. I love the idea of the cauliflower with Indian spicing -- in that case, I might even throw in some chickpeas. . .

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  3. Mmm. This sounds good. Soup is something I could eat every day - and there is a head of cauliflower in the fridge right now. Guess what's for dinner tomorrow night?

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    Replies
    1. Let me know how it turns out, Lorrie. I'm sure you'll add your own interesting twists.

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  4. That looks fantastic. And I agree that some scallops added would probably taste perfect with it.

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    1. I love the combo of scallops and cauliflower.

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  5. Sounds perfect minus the bacon and chicken stock. I am a non meat eater so could see it with scallops or shrimp! Yum.

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    Replies
    1. Shrimp would be good too and would add a bit of colour.

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  6. Embarassed as I am to admit that it's nearly three weeks since I found time for a proper blog catch up, I have to comment here and say ... yum! I make a cream of cauliflower soup which is nice, but have never thought to try a chowder. I can just see this working with a bit of smoked haddock or similar instead of the bacon, what do you think?

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    Replies
    1. Better late than never, especially if your late arrival means a clever culinary suggestion -- smoked haddock would work brilliantly, I'd say. Let me know if you try it.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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