I think it’s time for another creative leftovers soup. Well they’re not really leftovers, they are things in my fridge and pantry that I want to use before they end up fuzzy finales. I have ham, sweet potatoes, a head of cauliflower and a bunch of kale. It should be a creamy veggie chowder! With ham.
Although I wanted a thick, creamy chowder, I was going to make it a healthy chowder. To reduce the amount of dairy, I’d puree the cauliflower. To make that even better flavored, I wanted to roast the cauliflower first to bring out the caramelized cauliflower flavors.
I cut the cauliflower into florets along with a roughly chopped onion, tossed them with a little oil and laid it out on a foil covered baking sheet. I sprinkled sea salt over it and roasted it at 400°F for 40 minutes.
The sweet potatoes were peeled and diced while I was waiting for my cauliflower to cook and I added them to the pot with the chicken broth and put it on medium high to bring it to a boil. After 20 minutes they were falling apart tender.
When the cauliflower was nicely browned around the edges I put it into the soup pot and let it cook with the sweet potatoes about 5 minutes.
I used my new immersion blender (I’ve been going red with my small kitchen appliances) and pureed the cauliflower, onions and sweet potatoes until they were creamy and smooth. I returned the pot to the stove.
I added a couple of peeled and diced potatoes. For seasoning I followed the recipe and added 2 teaspoons of dried thyme and substituted a teaspoon of garlic powder for the garlic. I added one teaspoon of salt since my broth was homemade and salt free, and half a teaspoon of pepper. I could add more salt and pepper later.
I added the diced ham and bag of frozen corn and a good pinch of red pepper flakes. I let the chowder cook on medium low heat for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes were fork tender. The chowder wanted to settle to the bottom and stick and burn at medium heat so low or medium low is a safer bet, stirring often.
I stirred in a half cup of Parmesan cheese and the chopped kale into the chowder. The recipe called for a Parmesan rind for flavor and although I didn’t have one, I wanted the Parmesan flavor to go along with all of the lovely vegetables.
I stirred until the cheese was melted and the kale was wilted. I tasted for seasoning and decided to add a cup of heavy cream. It needed that little bit of real cream in spite of the cauliflower. The chowder was so nice and thick I didn’t need any further thickening agents.
When the soup had simmered for a few more minutes I served it with garlic toast points. We loved the soup’s richness from all of the veggies and cheese. The corn, ham and kale added nice texture to it and the toast, well that’s good any time. It was a filling soup and neither of us felt like having dessert that night!
The next day I heated a cup of soup for lunch and it was equally delicious. It had a bit more heat from the red pepper flakes once it had time to meld a little more, but it was not overpoweringly hot. I made toast and dipped it in the creamy broth and loved it that way.
Because of the cheese and cream it’s probably not a good soup to freeze. I’ve found soup curdles and just isn’t creamy after frozen with cream and cheese content. But the recipe makes only 4-6 servings and would probably last at least 6 days in the fridge.
Veggie Ham Chowder with Kale
1 head of cauliflower; cut in florets
1 large onion, sliced roughly
Oil and salt
4 cups chicken broth (or broth of choice)
2 large sweet potatoes; peeled and cubed
2 large potatoes; peeled and cubed
1 teaspoon salt (taste before adding salt if using processed broth)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons thyme; dried
2 cups ham; cubed
pinch red pepper flakes; or to desired heat
1 bag frozen corn (or two cans, drained)
1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
1 cup cream
1/2 cup Parmesan; shredded
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Toss cauliflower florets and onion slices with a drizzle of oil, then spread on foil covered sheet pan and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for 40 minutes in oven until beginning to brown on edges.
Put sweet potatoes into a soup pot with the chicken broth and bring it to a boil. Reduce to medium and cook for 20 minutes.
Add cauliflower and onions to the pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook 4-5 minutes until cauliflower is softened. Remove from heat and use immersion blender to puree, then return pot to burner.
Add potatoes, ham, corn, garlic powder, thyme and a pinch of red pepper flakes to soup pot. Let cook over medium low or low heat until the potatoes are all fork tender, about 20 minutes, stirring often. They will stick and burn if not watched closely.
Stir in Parmesan and kale and cook until cheese is melted and kale is wilted. Stir in cup of cream. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper to taste.
Adapted from This Girl’s Gotta Eat!