I was trying to catch up on my blog reading recently which, turns out, is an act in futility. As of this moment, I have 436 unread posts of blogs I follow – and I keep adding more! I used to be able to scan through my Feedly reader daily but these days I just can’t keep up. I’ve officially given up trying to keep pace and given myself permission to have oodles of unread posts. I will get to them eventually. This is what I tell myself because my type-A/perfectionist side HATES having a full inbox of sorts. At the very least I try to spend a few minutes looking at titles and scanning a few posts each day. One of those days recently, I came across Juli Bauer’s recipe for Simple Creamy Cauliflower and Artichoke Soup on PaleoOMG. It was perfectly timed because I had a can of artichokes collecting dust in my pantry that I had NO idea how I was going to use and a half a head of cauliflower that was reaching the end of its life.
- 2 cups cauliflower, roughly chopped
- 2 cups chicken broth
- ½ cup artichoke hearts
- 1 tablespoon basil
- salt and pepper
- shredded chicken for garnish
- two slices of bacon for garnish
I altered a few things slightly but not by much. I used canned chicken since that what I had on hand. I changed out the broth from vegetable to chicken and didn’t have fresh basil. What I took from the recipe most was the suggestion to combine this interesting assortment of ingredients.
The process for the soup is relatively simple, which is always a plus when you don’t have a lot of time (or interest) in cooking as was the case for me on this particular day. The lengthiest prep step is in cooking the bacon, unless you are lucky enough to have some cooked bacon in the fridge, or perhaps buy the pre-cooked, microwavable bacon from local stores. Not my first option but it can be handy when in a pinch.
- Cook bacon. (if needed)
- Steam the cauliflower.
- Heat the broth.
- Use a food processor to blend the cauliflower and artichoke hearts.
- Add the broth, basil, salt, and pepper. Blend well.
- Warm it all on the stove as long or little as you need.
- Serve topped with chicken and bacon bits.
I made an educated guess that 5 artichoke hearts equaled 1/2 cup.
After everything was incorporated I put it back on the stove for about 10 minutes at a low simmer to blend the flavors together.
I warmed my chicken in the microwave before adding it to my soup. (I try not to use the microwave much but this was one night that I just wanted to eat quickly.)
It might sound like an odd combination but I think it works quite well. It’s like a twist on chicken soup with some unconventional ingredients. Mine did not turn out creamy; it was rather grainy in texture but I assumed that was to be expected from the cauliflower. Also, in retrospect, I probably didn’t blend it long enough.
I liked this so much that I made another version the following week with a few additions and changes.
Ingredients – second time around
made two servings
- half a head of cauliflower (I didn’t measure this time)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 5 artichoke hearts (the second half of the can I used in the first batch)
- 1/2 sweet onion
- 2 small jalapenos*
- 1 can of chicken
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp garlic chili paste* (homemade)
- salt and pepper
*if you like a little spicy flavor
This time I roasted my cauliflower in the oven. I drizzled it with olive oil and a little salt and roasted it for about 40 minutes at 375 degrees, checking and turning the cauliflower frequently until I got a good roasted, slightly charred look.
At the same time, I chopped my onion and jalapeno and sauteed them with a little olive oil and garlic chili paste. On another burner, I combined the chicken broth, can of chicken, salt, pepper, and basil and warmed them over medium low heat.
When the onions were to my liking I set them aside in the food processor with the artichoke.
When the cauliflower was ready I added it and blended it all up well.
Then I added about a little over a cup of the broth (careful not to include any chicken pieces), in small incremental amounts, alternating between adding a little broth and blending. This helped reduce the graininess of the cauliflower and created a creamier texture.
When I was happy with the texture, I added it back into the soup pan with the remaining broth and the chicken and stirred to combine.
I kept it on medium low heat and warmed it all for about 15 minutes and then turned it off to cool. I didn’t actually serve it that night. It made two perfect lunch-sized servings for my week. I sampled it the next day and I give it a hearty thumbs up. Again, it’s a nice alternative chicken soup option for cold winter days or those days when the crud strikes. I bet it would freeze nicely too, making for a quick and easy meal when not feeling up to snuff as well.