Lately my husband has been trying out the ketogenic diet – or keto, for those in the know. In case you are not sure what this meal plan is, the most basic explanation is that it is a healthy-fat based, low-carb meal plan. While I have never have met a potato I did not love, I can do without them when I make this for dinner. Nutty cauliflower, salty bacon, and sweet red bell pepper are combined with the subtle herbaceousness of dill and the delectable level of satiating fat this meal plan requires to create a truly memorable dish.
As with all my recipes and lists, I wrote this out old school. Yes, I actually put pen to paper. In one of my many spiral bound notebooks. Not to get all tangentey but – over the years, my near compulsive desire to note take and physically write down everything has garnered snickers and gentle ribbing from loved ones. Apparently, physically writing things down is as relevant as a VCR. I take it one step further and not only hand-write lists and recipes, I edit them with my trusty red LePen fine-tipped felt pen. Planning the optimal keto meal that contains predominantly fat, with minimal proteins, and even less carbs, can make getting your vegetables in challenging. Luckily, one of the few vegetables my husband can eat, nay, is encouraged to eat, is cauliflower. High in nutrients and fiber and low in carbs and calories, cauliflower is every ketogenic follower’s dream vegetable. It’s dynamic flavor profile and seemingly endless ability to take on different textures with minimal effort make it every home-cook’s secret weapon.
I took a vegetarian recipe I had and made it as deliciously fatty and keto-friendly as I could. This bowl of tasty and filling soup is crazy full of animal fat. If you are eschewing animal products, you can successfully switch out the animal products and revert this back to a vegetarian soup. Another option for the non-keto readers out there is adding a bit of flour to further thicken this baby up. But quite honestly, this recipe works regardless whether you are doing keto or low-carb meal plans. For lack of a better word, it is just simply yummy (and even more so with a crusty baguette and a glass of wine. Shhh, don’t tell my husband I’m eating buttered, crusty baguette without him.).
I’m a firm believer in having fun while you cook and being comfortable with what you are cooking. Take this recipe and hopefully it sparks your imagination to the point you can make it your own. Or, do it as-is and know you will have a knock-you-on-the-floor delicious bowl of soup.And lastly, this soup stays in the fridge for multiple days and freezes well for one to two months.
CAULIFLOWER CHOWDER WITH BELL PEPPER AND DILL
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons MCT oil
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 red bell peppers, de-seeded and diced + 2 slices per bowl for garnish
- 1 whole head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 1 ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- Salt to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil for cooking
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 beef or chicken bouillon cubes
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Crumbled bacon, to garnish
- Bacon fat for garnish for cooking + garnishing
- ¼ cup pepitas, for garnish
- 4 sprigs fresh dill
- Smoked paprika, for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest, for garnish
- In a Dutch oven or large stock pot, cook bacon (at least 4 slices but up to the whole package), to render the fat out. Cook bacon until cooked through and crispy. Set bacon aside on a paper towel to cool.
- In the same dutch oven, heat butter, MCT, and bacon fat until shimmering but not smoking. To increase the smoke point, you can add a stabilized fat such as olive oil or vegetable oil. Add onions and bell pepper, cooking until the onions are translucent and the peppers soft.
- Add garlic, stir and cook for one minute, taking care it does not burn.
- Add the cauliflower and stir in hot butter for 3 minutes to slightly cook and caramelize the florets.
- Add chicken stock, wine, pepper, dried oregano, dried thyme, worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and bullion cubes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring broth to a boil for one minute, then reduce to a simmer.
- Cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 30 minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan every so often.
- Once the cauliflower is fully cooked, blend the soup with an immersion blender until creamy or to your preference. You can also blend this in a blender. (Always carefully blend hot items in small batches to ensure it doesn’t splatter and injure you.). I prefer to blend this soup until it is completely smooth.
- Add the heavy cream and cream cheese. Simmer for five to ten minutes, until the cream cheese is melted and the heavy cream is full incorporated.
- Stir in parmesan cheese.
- Serve in a bowl garnished with fresh dill, paprika, pumpkin seeds, red bell pepper slices, and a drizzle of bacon grease.