We’re in that weird no man’s land between summer and fall. When it still feels like summer here in the Midwest (read: sticky and sweltering), but the calendar says we should be breaking out our scarves and cozying up to the fireplace. It’s confusing. Especially when you go to make your weekly dinner menu! I can still grab all kinds of wonderful, flavorful local summertime produce at my nearby Meijer store, but it just feels like we should be enjoying soups and stews, doesn’t it?
Well, this Roasted Corn and Cauliflower Chowder is a perfect in-betweener recipe. It’s a hearty, cozy soup that’ll usher us into fall, but it uses fresh, local corn that I picked up at my local Meijer store.
The Meijer produce section is one of my happy places. Not only do they have an exhaustive selection of all kinds of varieties of fruits and veggies (it’s seriously impressive), but the awesome folks at Meijer also pride themselves on buying from Midwestern producers first. Which means that I can hop into my local Meijer store and pick up farmstand quality produce from my local farmers. In fact, Meijer partners with over 250 local growers in the Midwest to stock their produce section! When you pick up produce at Meijer, there is a good chance it was grown nearby.
In fact, the corn used in this recipe was grown by Mouzin Brothers Farms—a third generation Indiana farm just a hop, skip, and a jump down the road from me! You can taste the difference when you buy locally-grown produce. And I love that I can support small Indiana farmers just by picking up my normal groceries at my regular supermarket. It’s a win-win!
This corn and cauliflower chowder ends up being so rich, creamy, and hearty, and all without a single drop of dairy in it! I use full-fat coconut milk to add some creaminess and sweetness and to thicken, I just use my handy-dandy immersion blender to blend it until I get the right texture. I prefer a smoother chowder with just a few chunks, but if you like it really nice and chunky, just remove a couple of cups of the soup, blend until smooth, and then stir back into the pot—it’ll thicken it nicely without any added cornstarch, flour, or arrowroot.
To get a really deep and hearty flavor, I made sure to roast both the cauliflower and corn here. Roasting helps bring out the sugars and provides a nuttiness that really is worth the extra bit of time! If you’re still in a grilling mood, you can also grill your cauliflower and corn to add some smokiness. If you do that, I’d serve it topped with a few slices of pickled jalapeño and a little bit of cotija cheese. Yum!
If you do happen to want to make this recipe in the middle of winter when you can’t find a fresh ear of corn around to save your life, well, you’re in luck! Because it’s easily adapted to be made with frozen corn, too. I’ve included directions for both ways in the recipe down below. Enjoy!
This Roasted Corn and Cauliflower Chowder is the perfect hearty soup to bridge between fresh summer produce and fall weather.
- 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1/4 cup avocado or olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided, plus more taste
- 4 ears of sweet corn, shucked
- 6 slices True Goodness Hardwood Smoked Uncured Bacon
- 1 1/2 cups onion, diced (about 1 large)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1” pieces (about 4 cups)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 14-ounce can full-fat canned coconut milk
- Sliced green onions or fresh minced parsley, for serving
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat, and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the cauliflower florets with 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Spread the florets evenly onto half of the prepared baking sheets, and set aside.
- Rub the remaining oil on the ears of sweet corn. Sprinkle with remaining salt and black pepper. Spread ears onto the second half of the prepared baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet in preheated oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, flipping both the cauliflower and corn halfway through baking. They are finished roasting when the cauliflower is fork-tender and golden brown, and the corn is bright in color and tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Heat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and cook the bacon until crisp—or about 5 minutes per side. Remove bacon to a paper-towel lined plate to cool. Crumble bacon, and then set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in the pot.
- Add the onion, garlic, and thyme to the bacon grease in the pot. Sauté until tender and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Add in the chicken or vegetable stock, potatoes, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are very tender (losing their shape).
- While the soup is simmering, use the knife and bowl method to slice the kernels off the cooked corn cobs. Reserve some of the cooked corn for garnish, if desired.
- Add the cooked cauliflower, corn kernels, and coconut milk to the pot. Heat until just warmed through, and then remove from heat. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
- Using an immersion blender, blend until as smooth or chunky as desired (I like it mostly smooth with a few chunks).
- Taste for seasoning, adding additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately topped with crumbled bacon, reserved corn kernels, and green onions or fresh minced parsley.
- This soup can easily be made vegetarian or vegan by skipping the bacon and instead using 2 tablespoons of additional oil or butter to sauté the vegetables.
- No fresh corn? No problem. Defrost one 10-ounce bag of frozen corn in a colander. When defrosted, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast alongside the cauliflower.
- Category: Soups
Keywords: soups, chowder, corn, bacon, cauliflower