A creamy, filling vegetable chowder made with deeply savoury roasted cauliflower, buttery fried onions, and hearty carrots and potatoes. It’s a meal in a bowl!
The power of a name has been demonstrated over and over again to me recently. My daughter Kipper won’t eat stir fry, but happily chomps down ‘Chinese style vegetables’, while her Dad famously hates kugel but enjoys a ‘crispy potato bake’.
Neither of them particularly likes soup, so when I really really fancied a big warming bowl of something soupy and delicious recently, I decided to try this renaming tactic yet again.
Ladies and gents, I present “CHOWDER”
Now I know that technically, chowder is just a specific kind of soup – one traditionally made with milk or cream, and thickened with potatoes or crushed crackers. But Kipper had never heard of chowder before, and if DH knew it was soup, he also knew enough to keep quiet about it. The smell of it cooking was so irresistible that even if I had called it soup, I think they would both have eaten it!
This hearty vegetarian chowder is the perfect Spring food, just what I want to eat on a day when the sun is shining, but there’s still a nip in the air. So basically every day, at the moment. Savoury roasted cauliflower, sweet carrots, fried onions, and soft and fluffy potatoes, in a rich, thick and creamy broth – what’s not to love?!
The aroma of roasting cauliflower was mouthwatering, but the fragrance of buttery fried onions, thyme and smoked paprika really pushed it over the edge. I kept sending Kipper off to do things around the house and she kept gravitating back to the kitchen, drawn by the wonderful smell emanating from the pot bubbling away on the stove. Piano practise will have to wait.
Roasting the cauliflower before adding it to the other vegetables is definitely worth the little bit of extra effort. It adds a fabulous depth of flavour to the finished chowder. You can also reserve a few pieces of beautiful charred cauliflower to use as a garnish, if you remember, like I didn’t. Oops.
Lunch, dinner or supper
The chunky potatoes and carrots turn this thick vegetable soup – sorry, chowder – into a hearty vegetarian meal, and we ate it for dinner with just some breadsticks on the side. It occurs to me that the chowder itself would be perfect for Pesach as a yummy, filling lunch or supper.
We topped our chowder with grated cheese and a little chopped parsley (which looked pretty good even if it wasn’t a piece of roasted cauliflower). I actually ate this both with and without the cheese, and I can confidently say that it’s delicious either way.
This made 3-4 servings, depending on how hungry you are. As you can see, it was also pretty thick, so you could easily thin it with a little extra stock or milk to make it go a bit further. And you’re welcome to call it chowder, soup, or whatever you think will persuade your family to give it a try! Enjoy!
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Roasted cauliflower and vegetable chowder
For the roasted cauliflower
- 1 medium cauliflower (approx 350g)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper
For the chowder
- 1 large onion
- 3 medium-large carrots
- 3 medium-large potatoes
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4-1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
- 300 ml vegetable stock (1 1/3 cups)
- 200 ml milk (scant 1 cup)
- grated cheese & chopped parsley to serve (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200C (400F).
Cut the cauliflower into small florets. Wash well and toss with the oil, salt and pepper. Spread out onto a lined baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes until tender and charred at the edges.
Meanwhile, peel and finely dice the onion. Peel and chop the carrots and potatoes.
Heat the butter in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 5-7 minutes until soft and starting to turn golden. Add the carrots and potatoes to the pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for another 5 minutes.
Add the roasted cauliflower to the pan with the thyme and smoked paprika. Stir well.
Add the stock and milk to the pan. The liquid should just cover the vegetables - add more if necessary. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes until the potatoes and carrots are soft.
Remove about 1/3 of the chowder to a bowl or jug and use a hand blender to puree. Return this to the pan and mix well in.
Serve the chowder, topped with a little grated cheese and a sprinkling of chopped parsley.
You can also reserve a few small pieces of the roasted cauliflower to use as a garnish.