Roasted Cauliflower Corn Chowder with Pepper Jack Cheese is the creamy, hearty soup with just the right amount of zing you need if you’re as deep into soup season as I am!
Soup season is well underway, at least for us Midwesterners who seek refuge from the frigid temperatures outside in a bowl of steamy hot deliciousness. A realization of sorts occurred to me the other day – soup season has LAYERS. When Fall hits, I’m all about lighter soups, like tomato basil, chicken noodle, minestrone. But not now. I’ve left that light soup layer behind.
Those lighter soups just aren’t cutting it. Because January has me DEEP into soup season and only the creamiest, heartiest soups will do. Chunky chili, comforting chicken wild rice soup, and all of the chowders please and thank you. Specifically, this Roasted Cauliflower Corn Chowder with Pepper Jack Cheese I’m going to tell you all about.
Oh, and how about some zing? We may be deep into soup season, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t also craving some spice. Roasted Cauliflower Corn Chowder with Pepper Jack Cheese checks that box too.
I have this habit of buying a head of cauliflower with lofty dinner ambitions in mind. For sure this time I’m going to attempt cauliflower crust pizza or today is the day cauliflower fried rice is happening. Let’s be real here: 9 times out of 10 I wind up roasting it in the oven, then plaster it with shredded cheese.
But being this deep into the hearty soup layer has me inspired. Cauliflower is incredibly versatile, but one of its best uses is in soup. Not only does it provide great flavor, but it can also be used to thicken soup, providing a range of pleasing consistencies.
So you already know where this is going.
(ME) Open fridge. Stare at cauliflower. Abandon cauliflower ambitions and prep for roasting. Creamy, hearty soup craving hits. Follow craving. Make soup with roasted cauliflower. And corn and cream and cheese and other comforting, delicious ingredients.
I kept the ingredients simple; after all, I was inspired, not ambitious. And I knew I wanted some spice, a little heat for warmth. Pepper jack cheese and jalapeno add just the right amount of heat to this Roasted Cauliflower Corn Chowder while keeping the focus on the creamy cauliflower and pleasing pops provided by sweet kernels of corn.
Embrace the creamy, hearty soup layer. Be inspired. Satisfy your cold-weather soup cravings with Roasted Cauliflower Corn Chowder with Pepper Jack Cheese.
If you like this, try:
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into smaller pieces for roasting
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil or liquid bacon grease*
- 1 medium white onion, chopped (approximately 1 generous cup)
- 1 carrot stick, shredded (approximately 1 generous cup)
- 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2½ cups chicken stock* (I used Swanson’s chicken stock, which has salt in it)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon Mexican oregano (or regular oregano)
- 1 15.25 ounce can of whole kernel corn*
- 1 (generous) cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
- ½ - 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ - 1 teaspoon white pepper
- (Optional) Bacon crumbles, scallions, hot sauce*
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Arrange cauliflower pieces on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil or bacon grease. Lightly salt and pepper.
- Roast cauliflower in oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet until needed. Don’t worry if they aren’t super tender at this point, they will cook more in the soup.
- Melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, jalapeno, and garlic and cook until softened, approximately 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add cream, chicken stock, and Mexican oregano. Bring to a rapid simmer.
- Add roasted cauliflower. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Blend to desired consistency. I used a stick blender, but you can also blend in batches using a countertop blender. I prefer a little texture here as opposed to a super smooth consistency.
- Add in corn and pepper jack cheese and stir until the cheese has melted.
- The soup will be pretty thick at this point. If you’re happy with the consistency, proceed to the next step. If you want to thin it out a bit, gradually add more chicken stock until you’ve reached your preferred consistency.
- Add salt and white pepper, starting with ½ teaspoon or less of each. Stir and taste. Increase amounts of salt and/or pepper if necessary.
- Garnish with bacon crumbles, scallions, and hot sauce.
- Dig in!
*If you want a thinner chowder than this recipe yields, keep more chicken stock on hand to add at the end of cooking.
*Frozen corn also works. Just thaw it in a strainer before adding it to the soup.
*Other garnishes for your consideration: chorizo, chives, drizzle of olive oil, thinly sliced jalapeno, fresh parsley, croutons, oyster crackers, crispy tortilla strips, more cheese.
Re-heating tip: I recommended adding a tablespoon or two of water before microwaving to thin the chowder out a bit.