Chicken-Cauliflower Chowder

I know. Chicken-Corn Chowder — the salty-cheesy kind with bacon and lots of soft potatoes– is what you’re thinking. I love that, too, and can remember the very first time I ate it in the kitchen of Woodlawn Planation. But this is a tad different and works to do that sad? but stupendous thing folks sometimes find so difficult–

use up the leftovers.

After any holiday…

above: a glimpse of our Easter afternoon potluck

I’m the odd person out in that deal; I love what you can do with the wondrous goodies (I’ve ditched the word “leftovers”) you receive from things like a big old ham:

Egg and Ham Sandwiches with Greek Goddess

Snow Cap Bean and Ham Soup–Bye-Bye Easter Ham Bone

a rib roast, or–in this case– a smoked turkey (second photo below) because I didn’t make a ham this year. I made lamb, too…and I promise to get you a decent recipe for it one day:

Italian-Style Braised Lamb I reworked several times over from a REAL SIMPLE recipe

And because you might not have a smoked turkey sitting around in your fridge–

and yes, a smoked turkey is quite black…

I thought I’d write the recipe for…you guessed it…chicken. Look closely, though; I made this with smoked turkey. So just in case you DO have smoked turkey, or buy some, use that. You won’t be disappointed. Or you could cook a couple of pieces of chopped smoky bacon, remove the bacon, cook the vegetables and soup in its fat..and add the bacon at the end of the soup. Just sayin.

Not only did I pull that turkey out, but also scored a big scoop of the cold mashed potato casserole  from the refrigerator along with a few cups of the cauliflower I ended up not using after all for Easter dinner. Yep, I threw it all together, that soup is for dinner tonight, and the only thing I couldn’t figure out was how to include the salmon Dave smoked, too…

Above: the Christmas version of the smoked salmon

so I think I’ll mash it up into a spread for an appetizer something like this:

Alyce’s Garlic-Dill Salmon Spread

And why not use it all? It feels and tastes good; it makes sense. I did everything I could to get our guests to take all the food home they could carry and they, to a certain extent, did. Sigh; there are still leftovers  wondrous goodies to be had. I love a good holiday!  If you made something fun or even just tasty out of your holiday leftovers, leave me a note in the comments. I want to know.

Have only a bit of rotisserie chicken and some fresh vegetables–or even cooked ones? I think you can make this little chowder just the same and maybe even better. Try this:

CHICKEN-CAULIFLOWER CHOWDER                   4-6 servings

This chow-dah, easily made from refrigerator leftovers, is adaptable and quite tasty should you need to change out protein, vegetables, herbs, or seasonings. Try sliced toasted almonds for a garnish, for instance. Use more onion and no leeks. Duck instead of chicken. Skipping dairy? No problem, it’s quite “milky” without it due to the cauliflower and potatoes.

  • 1 tablespoon each:  salted butter and olive oil
  • 1 each:  thinly sliced leek (white/lt. green parts only); stalk celery with leaves; large carrot; small onion, diced; clove garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme
  • Handful chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine — can sub water or broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups chicken broth, low sodium
  • 3 cups chopped cauliflower florets (about a pound)
  • Large peeled, finely diced potato or 1/2-1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1 – 2 cup(s) cooked, diced chicken, turkey, or smoked turkey
  • 2 tablespoons each frozen peas and corn — optional
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Hot sauce to taste (start with 2-3 drops)
  • Cheddar Cheese, grated for garnish
  • Scallions, chopped finely for garnish

SWEAT AROMATICS/ADD SPICES+HERBS: Heat the  butter/oil over medium flame in a 6-qt. pot and cook the vegetables (leek, celery, carrot, onion) for several minutes until onion is translucent, adding garlic for last minute. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, thyme, and parsley.  Let cook, stirring, a minute or two.

ADD LIQUIDS AND THEN CAULIFLOWER: Pour in wine and let cook until absorbed-1-2 minutes perhaps. Pour in water and broth; cover and bring to a boil. Remove lid and tip in cauliflower and diced potato. Let cook 10-12 minutes or until cauliflower and potato pieces are all really fork tender. If you like, you can mash them a little or a lot with a potato masher or fork.  If using leftover mashed potatoes, wait until the cauliflower is cooked and add them with the chicken in the next step, stirring or mashing very well to incorporate and letting them cook a minute or two to thicken the chowder.

STIR IN CHICKEN/ADD MILK AT END:  Stir in the diced chicken along with the peas and corn, if using, and cook 2-3 minutes until everything is hot.  Pour in milk and heat through.  Taste and adjust seasonings, adding hot sauce to taste.

SERVE HOT: Serve hot garnished with cheese and scallions.

Cook’s Note:  If you’d like a thicker chowder, whisk in 2 tablespoons all purpose, unbleached flour into the cold milk before stirring it in. Let the chowder cook just 2 or 3 minutes to thicken.

{printable recipe}

WINE:  Maybe you have a bit of California Chardonnay or White Burgundy left lying around. That’s what I’d pour. 

Dessert: I know you ate the ears off the chocolate bunny first thing. If there’s any left, have that. (Skipping dessert here at my house…)

One last dish I served Sunday that’s great all spring long:  Sunrise Asparagus Vinaigrette. I’m not sure if it’s on the blog or I’ve just posted it on facebook. These are the directions I posted there.

DIRECTIONS: Roast oiled/salted and peppered well-trimmed asparagus in 400 degrees F oven 12-15 min til tender/crispy. Add to platter and drizzle with lemon vinaigrette. Decorate with chopped hard cooked eggs. Lemon Vinaigrette: Whisk well together 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 3/4 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard, a good pinch of salt, pepper, dried oregano or dill and crushed red pepper. Drizzle in slowly 1/2 cup olive oil and whisk until well-combined. Hint: You’ll have enough vinaigrette for your Monday salad.

Above: Pansies on my front porch.

While we have no snow like the upper mid-west and mostly spring-like conditions, we also have very HIGH fire danger in Southern Colorado. Here’s a pic of yesterday’s fire about 10 miles east of our house. It was contained fairly quickly, unlike the fire last week that burned for days on end. Yes, Colorado is gorgeous–and frightening.

Photo courtesy

Some of my readers live outside the US. For them, here’s a map of Colorado. We are about an hour south of Denver in Colorado Springs.

I wish you a happy, healthy spring and enjoyable meals with people you love. Know that I’m grateful you’re here reading. Thank you.


One thought on “Chicken-Cauliflower Chowder

  1. Pingback: 25 Scrumptious Dishes to Jump Start Your Healthy January | More Time at the Table

Leave a Reply