Potato, Cauliflower and Corn Chowder

Long before it was trendy, we were a cauliflower eating family.  When G was going to college and working nights, C the MP and I would have cauliflower with melted cheese for dinner.  He was 3 and it’s what he always asked for.   I thought he had incredibly good taste.

My mom used to make potato soup on a regular rotation, so I’m not surprised how many potato/cauliflower soup recipes I found in her binders.  My dad loved potato soup.  Hello, he was born in Idaho.

  • 12 oz bacon sliced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 4 medium russet potatoes peeled and chopped into 1/2″ thick pieces
  • 1 medium head cauliflower cored and chopped into florets
  • 6 cups warm water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 2 to 3 cups corn kernels cooked from fresh or frozen
  • grated cheddar cheese for sprinkling

  1. Cook bacon in a 5 1/2 quart heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven over med/high heat until browned. Remove bacon with slotted spoon to paper-towel-lined plate.
  2. Pour the bacon grease into a bowl. Spoon 3 tablespoons of bacon grease back into the pot and discard the rest. Add diced onion and sauté 5 min or until soft.
  3. Add chopped potatoes and cauliflower, 6 cups warm water along with 4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Stir and bring to a boil. Add 1 cup cream, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until potatoes are cooked through (about 15 min).
  4. Meanwhile cook your corn. Drain and cover to keep warm.
  5. Puree the soup in batches in a blender until completely smooth (making sure your blender has a little breathing hole at the top so you don’t create a suction vacuum from the hot liquid. Return soup to the pot and season to taste (for an adult soup, we add another 1/2 tsp cayenne). To serve, ladle into warm bowls and garnish generously with bacon bits, cooked corn kernels and fresh parsley.

*  From the Recipe Box:

Lazy butt time:  I used precooked bacon.   I put 3 tablespoons of butter in the pot instead of bacon grease to saute the onions.  I did not peel the potatoes, and I did use Yukon Gold.  I thawed frozen corn and dumped it in at the end.  I used the bags of cauliflower-ettes from Costco.  I did not use a stand blender; I used my immersion blender.  Are you seeing how much time I saved you?

and remember:  Life is so damn short, for god’s sake, just do what makes you happy.  Big kiss, Lynn

Mom’s French Onion Soup

You know by now how much my mom loved to entertain.  There were certain foods that announced company coming.  One of these was French Onion Soup.  I can still smell the rich beef broth.  She had special bowls she would bring out that framed the baguettes floating on top.  But, you also know by now how much I hate frou-frou and going to a lot of work for a simple meal.  I am not the party girl I used to be.

But, it is soup weather and it’s time to make mom’s onion soup.  I think most people assume it’s a lot of work.  I’m sure it can be, but it also can be streamlined and made easier.  The one step you can’t skip is caramelizing the onions.

1/2 cup butter

4 onions, sliced, about 2 pounds (I like a variety of onions)

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 bay leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup red wine, dry, not sweet (I usually have Pinot Noir on hand so that’s what I use, but a Cabernet or a Merlot would be fine)

3 heaping tablespoons flour

2 quarts beef broth

1 baguette, sliced

1/2 pound Gruyere, grated

Melt the butter in a large 12″ pan over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves and salt and pepper and cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves.  Sprinkle the onions with the flour and give them a stir. Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn’t burn, and cook for approximately 5 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into bowls, top each with 2 slices of bread and top with cheese. Put the bowls under the broiler to toast the bread and melt the cheese.  I could have broiled these longer, but we were hungry.

*  From the Recipe Box:

This is mom’s recipe.  She had the cutest bowls with lids that held about 2 cups, like the ones below, only hers were a solid brown.  This recipe would fill about 4 to 6 of them.  When I moved to the Island I lost track of them.

Gruyere is the most bestest (yes, that is a word) cheese for this soup.  It’s the nutty flavor.  You can never use too much cheese.  I usually divide the soup in half and eat half and freeze half.  Rich, intense flavor.

G doesn’t like baguette slices, he’d rather have croutons so he doesn’t have to try and cut the crusts.  Needless to say, it’s great both ways.

and remember:  If you don’t mean what you say, shut the hell up.  Big kiss, Lynn

 

Corn Chowder

Hooray, it’s time to enjoy the corn harvest in Western Washington.  Yes, we’ve been enjoying fresh corn for about a month, but this is different.  Today, it’s soup weather.  So, say it with me, HOORAY!  You all know how much I love soup and since we’ve been having some interesting weather, it seemed like the right time.  We had a thunder and lightning storm that was almost biblical in its intensity the other day.  Wow!  When your town makes CNN reporting for this kind of weather, you know it was impressive.

But, as usual, I digress.  All I really wanted to acknowledge was it’s time for soup.  I just found out corn chowder is a favorite for one of my favorite people, so it’s time to find the perfect recipe.  This is basically Ina Garten’s chowder recipe with a few additions.  She’s my hero, what can I say.  My favorite sous chef gave me a hand with all the chopping.  He’s turning into a soup fan as well.

4 slice bacon, chopped

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups chopped onions

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

6 cups chicken stock or broth

1 pound white potatoes, Yukon Gold for example, unpeeled and cubed to a 1/2 inch dice

5 cups of corn, approximately 5 ears fresh or a pound or so of frozen

1 cup half-and-half

1 heaping cup grated cheese, I use a combo of Jack and Cheddar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon.

*   From the Recipe Box:

G said it needed more bacon, so we used 8 slices.

The turmeric really added a yellow vibe to the chowder.

and remember:  Fake it until you make it.  Big kiss, Lynn