You might call this a “corny” chowder instead, because when I tell my two-year-old that I am making my “Heavenly and Heavily Herbaceous Cauliflower Crowded Chowder,” she cracks up. We always have a large quantity of broccoli and cauliflower stalks hanging around from other recipes. I slice off the outer fibrous side of the stems (all the green part for the broccoli) and chop the stalks into ¼-inch chunks. If you do not have leftover stems available, you can add more celery at the end of the cooking process, about 10 minutes before the chowder is done, or you can add chayote, kohlrabi, turnips, yellow beets, or fennel. I find the more vegetables in this soup, the better it tastes. If you’re caught with a bounty of fresh thyme and dill, this soup is also a great way of making use of them.
In a large pot, combine the potatoes, onion, corn kernels and cobs, carrots, celery, pepper, broccoli and cauliflower, garlic, thyme, white pepper, cumin, and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
Remove the corn cobs and let cool. Remove 1 cup of the soup and puree in a blender with a tight-fitting lid, covered with a towel. (If you like a thicker soup, puree 2 cups.) Return the pureed soup to the pot and add the dill. Scrape corn cobs with back of a knife to remove the creamy corn bits from the kernel, and add the bits to the pot. Stir well and season with salt.
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- 8 small Yukon Gold, white, or russet potatoes (about 2 pounds), cut into ½-inch chunks
- ½ small onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 ears fresh corn, kernels removed (about 1¾ cups), cobs reserved
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped broccoli and cauliflower stalks, outer fibrous parts removed and discarded (about ½ pound)
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped thyme
- ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 3 tablespoons chopped dill
- Salt to taste