I am not a vegetarian nor was meant to be, but vegetables are a dieter’s best friend, and can be amazingly satisfying when properly prepared.
Tonight I made Cauliflower Chowder from Damn Delicious, which was (mostly) all about the vegetables. Even with the addition of flour and milk AND topped with bacon bits, it was still only 4 Weight Watchers points per serving.
You can get the official recipe by clicking on the image or the link above, but here is how I made it.
4 slices bacon
2 Tbs unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced (about 2 cups)
2 carrots, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
2 stalks celery, diced (about 1 cup)
1/4 c all-purpose flour (I used Wondra)
4 c chicken broth
1 c whole milk
1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Fry bacon in a large skillet until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside. When cooled, chop into 1/4-inch bits.
- Break up cauliflower into uniform small florets and spray or toss with olive oil. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil or a Silpat mat and roast for 30 minutes or to desired degree of crispiness (I roasted mine just until there was some color on the bottoms).
- Melt butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in roasted cauliflower and bay leaf. Cook, stirring occasionally, another 5 minutes.
- Stir in flour and cook until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add chicken broth and milk, and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes. (The original recipe says to “whisk” the liquids in gradually, but I couldn’t figure out how to whisk such a dense and chunky mixture and it didn’t seem to make a big difference.)
- Bring soup to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove bay leaf.
- Before serving, dip out 3-4 cups of soup and purée it in a food processor or blender. Return purée to the pot and stir thoroughly.
- Serve garnished with chopped bacon.
To lighten this up, you could leave out the flour and milk (and the bacon, too, of course, even though it is soooo good) and simply purée a larger percentage of the mixture to add thickness. Either way, this is a wonderful recipe, really a keeper.
I had two helpings for dinner and was stuffed to the gills. I sent the rest over to my neighbors and told them it was my best ever and that I wouldn’t be sharing it with them if I didn’t like them so much because it was just that good. In fact, I said, “if you don’t like it, just give it back to me so I can eat it.”
David texted me a little while later, “Awesome.” I texted back, “I know, right?!”