Hands down this is one of my favorite soup/chowder recipes I have ever made. I mean you know a recipe has to be good when your husband refers to it as “your famous” chowder. This recipe is so good that my 7 year-old son actually hugged me after dinner and thanked me for making it! How sweet is that?! He then told me that I had to put it on the blog. So I am doing as I was told.
I’ve been on a bit of a mission to get my kids to eat a wider variety of vegetables. My kids’ vegetable consumption has been lackluster to say the least. The vegetables they will actually consume without a fight are: peas, carrots & green beans. I can get away with spinach and broccoli every once in a while, but I can look forward to at least one of them complaining or pretending to throw-up at the table. (Sorry Dude, you spit that out not threw it up but nice try.) It’s just too easy to throw some frozen peas or baby carrots on their plates and sit down to eat with no fighting or fussing. I mean who wants to argue and fight with their kids during dinner? It’s just too draining after a long day teaching a bunch of middle school kids to try to care about eating healthier.
I’m not usually a fan of hiding vegetables in foods to trick kids. (But I’m not opposed to doing it if the kid is super picky.) I want my kids to just eat them and be used to eating them because vegetables are healthy. And for the most part my kids do eat vegetables as long as they are the ones they like. Here’s what I am a big fan of: using vegetables or other foods to increase the nutritional density of foods. For example, this chowder recipe has kale in it. You can see the kale and my kids eat it. I cut it up into small pieces for them so it’s easier to chew. Would they eat a pile of kale on their plate? Um, no. But the kale in the soup gets eaten. Winning! If your family won’t touch kale I would suggest to cook it and puree it with the cauliflower.
The pureed cauliflower on the other hand serves a few purposes. First of all cauliflower is a vegetable (that my kids won’t eat) and it’s good for you. One serving of this cruciferous vegetable provides 77 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. It’s also a good source of vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese. (source) A food that is high in nutrition but low in calories is considered to be nutrient dense. The opposite of nutrient dense is empty calorie; empty calories are foods that are higher in calories than they are in nutrition, like pretzels. By adding pureed cauliflower to the soup you greatly boost nutritional density & of the soup.
The other purpose of the pureed cauliflower in the recipe is to provide texture and thickness. The usual way to make chowder it to use butter and flour and make a roux. This is used to thicken the soup and turn it into chowder consistency. Sure I could have dabbled with making a “primal” roux by using ghee (clarified butter) and tapioca starch or arrowroot flour, but the pureed cauliflower not only thickened it nicely, but it enhanced the flavor greatly.
- 1lb. bacon cooked & diced
- 2.5lb. Sweet Italian Sausage, casing removed
- 1 head of cauliflower, steamed and pureed
- 2tbsp minced garlic
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
- 14 oz. cups kale (or another leafy green like spinach. I buy the big container from BJ’s.)
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 1 tsp paprika
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Cook bacon in a large stockpot over medium high heat until crispy; set aside.
- Reserve 3 tbsp of the bacon grease in the pot. (I put a metal strainer over a bowl and dump the bacon in the strainer so the grease drains into the bowl.)
- Add Italian sausage to the pot & cook until browned. Be sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks. Remove from pot when done (I dump on top of bacon in strainer) leaving at least 3 tbsp of oil in the pot.
- Add garlic and onion to pot and sauté until onions are translucent. Add chicken stock and potatoes and bring to a boil. Let cook about 5 minutes so potatoes begin to soften.
- Add sausage, bacon, kale, pureed cauliflower, coconut milk, and paprika; mix thoroughly.
- Add salt & pepper to taste.
- Let soup cook until kale is wilted and potatoes are soft; about 10 minutes.
- Serve immediately or freeze for later.
- This recipe freezes well.