Fall is here and with the recent cool nights there’s nothing more comforting than cozying up at home with a bowl of homemade soup.
For the last week, I’ve been on a cauliflower kick. I almost always have a head of this healthy vegetable on hand, however, I usually roast it or make “fake” mashed potatoes by puréeing it with garlic and a little butter. Today I decided to make soup – well, a chowder in fact. This super simple recipe only requires a few ingredients yet it packs a punch with flavor and the best part – it’s healthy.
4 pieces of applewood smoked bacon
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 small white onion, diced
1 bay leaf
1 head of cauliflower
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
4 cups of chicken broth
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Cook bacon over medium-high heat, until browned and crispy. Set aside on a paper towel lined plate.
Melt butter in stockpot over medium heat. Add garlic, carrots, celery, and onion. Cook until tender – about 4-5 minutes. Add cauliflower and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender – about 4-5 minutes. Gradually add flour and stir until browned – about 1 minute. Gradually add in milk, then broth and continue to whisk constantly until thickened. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 12-15 minutes.
Serve immediately and garnish chowder with bacon pieces and parsley.
Hosting a gathering this holiday season? Whip up this easy-to-make fall appetizer inspired by a recent recipe I stumbled upon from Bon Appétit. I reserved some extra uncooked butternut squash cubes from Tuesday’s Butternut Squash Lasagna blog post in anticipation to today’s recipe. The fluffiness from the ricotta and brightness from the lemon really complement the butternut squash…making this a beautifully balance and easy hors d’oeuvre.
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
Finely grated lemon zest, to taste
Fresh lemon juice
Baguette slices, toasted
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly brush bread slices with olive oil and toast in the oven for about 7 minutes. While crostinis are in the oven, begin to peel, seed and cut butternut squash into 1/2 inch cubes. Coat squash with olive oil and brown sugar. Season with salt and pepper and arrange squash pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet. Remove crostinis and increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Roast squash, turning occasionally, until squash is golden brown and tender (about 20 -25 minutes.) Allow to cool.
Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium – high heat. Fry sage leaves for about 30 seconds to 1 minute – until edges begin to curl and leaves begin to turn dark green. Careful not to burn the leaves. Transfer leaves to a paper towel to drain. Begin ricotta mixture by combining cheese, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
Spread ricotta mixture on crostini and top with a few cubes of butternut squash. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice on bread slice and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fried sage leaves.