Ah, cauliflower. A vegetable that comes in many colors (my kids are big fans of the taste of purple cauliflower) and is versatile in its uses. People use it to make pizza crust, the "bread" to grilled cheeses, as a rice substitute in stir fry dishes, and mashed. It's used in soups, in pasta dishes (sometimes even as a dairy substitute in "alfredo" sauce), in casseroles. In our house, we love ricing it in our food processor, mashing it as a topper for a take on shepherd's pie, and even just tossing it with a bit of olive oil & seasonings and roasting it until the edges are golden brown.
It's a favorite for sure, and after fooling my husband yet again with cauliflower in a dish in place of something else - it's even been declared to be "magical".
So imagine how my curiosity piqued when I was poking around at recipes and saw people using pureed cauliflower as a thickener. I decided that I would experiment with this concept and went blind (meaning no recipe in front of me) to attempt a "chowder".
The results were delicious, healthy, low-calorie, and filling. Requests were made to put it in our regular menu rotation and no one added any hot sauce or ketchup. It's a great way to try and get your kids to get more veggies into their routine (since the liquid itself is 40-50% cauliflower) and a way to get your chowder fix even when you're trying to stick to those New Year's Resolutions.
- 1 large head white cauliflower, chopped & divided (about 2-3 cups florets, remainder chunks)
- 1 tbsp olive oil (I used light olive oil)
- 1 6-link package uncooked chicken sausage of your choosing (I used garlic & herb from Aldi) OR 1-1.5 lb ground chicken sausage
- 3-4 small to medium carrots, shredded (about 1 cup)
- 4 cups stock (I used 4 cups water and 5 tsp Better than Boullion chicken base
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup frozen corn
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Garlic Salt grinder blend, to taste (I used Trader Joe's Garlic Salt grinder)
Chop the cauliflower separating out about 2-3 cups of just florets (about half a head's worth) and put the remainder in a small pot with 4 cups of stock. Cook chunks in stock until tender (5-7 minutes once stock boils/simmers) and set aside the florets.
Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or large stock pot and squeeze sausage from casing so it can be browned & ground. Dispose of casings in garbage. You no longer need those.
Once sausage is browned, add cauliflower florets and shredded carrots. Cook for another 5-7 minutes until cauliflower is tender.
Reduce heat and add water to sausage and veggies to get up the "brown bits" (or "deglaze the pot" for you fancy-worded folks). There's tons of flavor here - don't leave the flavor behind!!
Add corn to sausage and veggies and toss until well combined. Turn off heat.
Once cauliflower chunks have become tender, turn off heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. DO NOT DRAIN - Puree stock & cauliflower together using either an immersion blender or a standard blender in batches.
Pour all of the puree into the sausage & veggies. Stir together, add seasoning. Voila!
Makes 4-6 servings.
For a printable version of this recipe, click on this link.