Sunday, January 5, 2014

Slow Cooker Cauliflower Soup

This recipe requires a bit of an explanation.  I've been having a medical issue that's resulted in me cutting way down on starches/grains and sugar.  The sugar I can mostly do without, but avoiding pasta, potatoes, bread, and the like is harder.  Lucky for me, I've had quite a bit of success with finding recipes that are already okay for me to cook, and adapting other recipes.  The standards by which I judge a recipe haven't changed and I will only post recipes here that I think are really good, even for people (like my husband!) who can eat whatever they want.  As evidenced by all the dessert posts last month, I'll still be posting recipes for sweets and pasta and that type of thing, just not as frequently.
This is one of the adapted recipes.  When I came upon the Cauliflower Soup recipe on the Pioneer Woman blog, it occurred to me that cauliflower soup with baked potato toppings on it would probably be pretty good.  I adapted the recipe so it would work in the crock pot, and left out the butter, flour, and milk (the milk just because I thought the texture was perfect without it).  It turned out exactly how I hoped!  My husband really dislikes cauliflower, but really enjoyed the soup anyway.  It's pretty good on its own, but the toppings really enhance it, especially the sour cream.  The sour cream also helps thicken it a bit since it's a pretty thin soup. 

If you want the soup thicker and don't mind adding flour to it, you could make a roux by melting 4 tablespoons butter in a small pan on the stove, then whisk in half a cup of flour and let it cook for a minute, then slowly whisk in the half and half and a cup of milk.  Let it simmer for a couple of minutes while stirring, then stir it into the soup.  I haven't tried it this way because I thought the consistency was fine, but the Pioneer Woman does basically the same thing to thicken her version and I'm sure it works perfectly.
Slow Cooker Cauliflower Soup
36 oz frozen cauliflower florets
1 carrot, diced
1 1/2 cup diced onion
4 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt (plus more later)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
2 quarts chicken broth
1 C half and half
1 C sour cream
cooked, crumbled bacon
grated cheddar
thinly sliced chives or green onion

In the crock of a large slow cooker, combine all ingredients except half and half and toppings.  Cook until carrots and cauliflower are soft, about 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low (times will vary according to your slow cooker).  Use a potato masher to break up the cauliflower.  If you want it smoother, you can use an immersion blender next, but we think it's best with a bit of texture to it.  Stir in the half and half, then taste the soup and add more salt if necessary.  I ended up using 2 teaspoons total. 
To serve the soup, ladle it into individual bowls and then top with sour cream, bacon, cheese, and green onion.

Yield: About 8 servings

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