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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

loaded baked potato soup (loaded with sshh! Cauliflower!)

Well, here in southern California we finally got winter. It happened last Sunday. After weeks months of sunshine and tank tops, Sunday was winter. It rained and poured for about half of the day. And now we're back to spring.

For that one day, though, it seemed like I ought take advantage of the cold and dreary skies outside and make the house seem warm and cozy by heating up the kitchen. I made two batches of strawberry jam (see what I mean about the warm winter lately? Strawberries already at the farm stands!!).  And then I made a big pot of hearty potato soup.

But, since around here the name of the game is to load everything I can with more vegetables (and to make things healthier while I'm at it), I found a recipe that replaces half of the potatoes with cauliflower.

It turns out nice and creamy and rich, and by the time you top it with bacon and cheese and chives, you are in heaven. Rainy days don't get much better than this!

Baked Potato Soup
(I got this recipe from

2 potatoes
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups milk
salt and pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
shredded sharp cheddar cheese
bacon, cooked and crumbled
6 tablespoons chives, diced

First, scrub and dry, poke the potatoes all over with a fork, then bake them. You can do it in the microwave or the oven. In the microwave, put them on high for 5 minutes, flip them, and cook them another 5 minutes. In the oven, place them on a rack for about an hour at 400. When they are done, take them out and let them cool.

While the potatoes are baking, cook the bacon. Yum! Try hard not to eat it all before the soup is finished.

Cut up the cauliflower and steam it. Again, this can be done in the microwave (about 8 minutes on high), or you can do it on the stove.

When the cauliflower and the potatoes are done, its time to puree them! Peel the potatoes and put them in  a blender with about half of the milk. Puree until smooth and pour into a stockpot. Next, put the cauliflower and the remaining milk in tot he blender and puree until smooth again (you may need to do this in batches). Add the pureed cauliflower to the pureed potatoes in the stockpot. Stir in the chicken or vegetable stock and season it all with a little bit of salt and lots of freshly cracked black pepper. Bring it to a boil then reduce to a simmer.

Add the sour cream and about half of the chives. Let it all cook for another 20 minutes on low.

Ladle into bowls and top each with some more chives, some shredded cheese, and some bacon.