cauliflower asparagus chowder

One of the best parts about living in the North End was being close to Haymarket. While the produce was not always amazing, being able to buy bargain priced vegetables was amazing - especially for soup. Appearance does not matter when you are putting blending that right up. Soup tends to be a really affordable meal in general - especially at Haymarket prices.

So when I saw cauliflower was on sale last week, I jumped at the chance to buy it. I was used to paying $1 ... and real grocery store pricing is around $3.50. It might sound crazy to be excited over saving 75 cents but that's almost equal to one blueberry donut. And I love blueberry donuts.

I was originally intending on making this cauliflower red pepper chowder from Food52 - but realized the expiration date for my asparagus was approaching faster. So asparagus cauliflower chowder it is! My all-time favorite cauliflower soup kicks off by heavily roasting the cauliflower to give it some amazing flavor. This soup takes a pretty different approach - no roasting. As a result, I was pretty worried that it would be a bit bland however, I was totally wrong. The soup has some really great chowder type flavors. The asparagus is pretty subtle too because I only used half a bunch left.
Here's how it goes:
  1. In a pot over medium high heat, sauté the onion and garlic with olive oil for a few minutes. Typical soup stuff.
  2. Add in the cauliflower, asparagus, potato, chicken stock, bay leaf, coriander, and cumin. Stir until well blended. Cover and let boil for about 15 minutes or until the potato is significantly softened.
  3. Add the milk. Carefully transfer the soup to the blender - and puree in batches. Don't forget to remove the bay leaf. My blender is big enough that I could have done this all at once - but just be patient. This soup is pretty thick so you'll potentially need to add some water here which is fine. I needed to add about 1/2 cup but could have gone up to 3/4 cup without issue. Just add as much as needed to get your desired consistency.
  4. Serve with shaved parmesan - and maybe some remaining asparagus if you feel so inclined.
Shopping List
2 cups cauliflower (approx. 1/2 head)
1/2 - 1 bunch asparagus, chopped
1 small onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 yukon gold potato, chopped
3 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 cup milk or cream
1/2 water
parmesan to taste

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