From Danielle and Jason Bitner

Danielle and Jason — and adorable baby Hollis — brought this zesty “caulichowder” waaay back on March 9. Oops. Honestly, I’m not even sure this is the right photo, as March 9 was, careful readers of this blog may recall, The Night of Beige Soups. So I’m just sort of going by the garnish here. Seems plausible, yes?


2 heads cauliflower, roasted
3 strips bacon
1/4 cup Marsala wine
1 large onion
5 cloves garlic
1/8 cup olive oil
3 quarts (12 cups) stock
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 cup 1/2 & 1/2, whole milk, or heavy cream
1/2  tablespoon fennel seed
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seed
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 tablespoon smoked salt
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons Sriracha (or to taste… it’s spicy!)
salt & pepper to taste
sour cream, chevre and/or green onions to garnish


Make a chicken stock one day ahead (or buy ready-made).  The Bitners used Alton Brown’s recipe, but in addition to the chicken carcass, threw in a smoked turkey leg for flavor. The stock was rich, golden and super flavorful.

Roast the cauliflower. Chop, toss in olive oil, spread on baking sheet & cook at 425 degrees F for 25-35 minutes, until golden.  Let cool.

In a big soup pot, sauté bacon until crisp. Remove cooked bacon, leaving grease in the pot. Let cool a few minutes.

Deglaze the pot with marsala wine, getting all the little stuck on crispy bits up.

Turn heat back on to medium-high and saute the onion and garlic. Once transparent, add the olive oil and the spices. Sauté for another few minutes until fragrant.  Add the stock and cauliflower and the reserved bacon, crumbled. Puree with immersion blender, or if you have to use a blender, do so now while everything isn’t too hot. Blend in batches.  If you want some added texture, reserve 1/4 of the cauliflower and add to the puree.

Add the cream. Cook over low heat for an hour (more if you can) to let the flavors blend together.  Add water or more stock if soup is too thick. Add more cream if you want it super creamy.

Serve with a dollop of chevre or sour cream & chopped green onions.


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