We are huge soup eaters all year long, but there is nothing better than a big bowl of creamy clam chowder during the colder winter months. When I received Modern Comfort Cooking the first page, I turned to was for Cauliflower Clam Chowder with Crispy Bacon.
Modern Comfort Cooking written and photographed by the lovely Lauren Grier is about to become my go-to cookbook for comfort food. If you do not know Lauren, you should. She is the fantastic home chef behind the food site Climbing Grier Mountain which is full of easy to make recipes. Have you tried her recipe for Polka Dot Lasagna Skillet? That is just one of our favorite recipes from her site. When she asked if we would be interested in reviewing her new cookbook, it was a no-brainer!
We love stories about how people got into food and the fact that she could not cook when she began her journey, and she self-taught approach through trial and error, as well as a few cooking shows, makes me appreciate her and her recipes even more. Utterly approachable, and you do not need to be intimated by the recipes at all. Super easy! We are not classically trained, and being able to relate to Lauren as well as her easy to make recipes is a plus for us. While we enjoy the challenges of a complicated recipe, our go-to on a day to day basis are definitely recipes that are easy to make and delicious to devour. This is precisely what you get with Modern Comfort Cooking; classics made with a twist.
The other evening we were talking about, or instead dissecting what we liked about her book. We kept coming back to her creative use with flavors, and how she is confident to combine flavors together that others would never think of doing. She calls it a Mash-Up! We related to how she uses travel as an inspiration for cooking. That is one of the things we love about traveling, too; coming home and trying to make the same flavorful dishes that we enjoyed abroad.
We love how she breaks down the recipe sections into brunch ideas (which if you follow her on social media, weekend brunch is a big thing), down to vintage classics and modern drive-thru recipes that have been reinvented. As well, there are kitchen tips and variations for recipes. There is definitely something for everyone.
While there are about a dozen recipes we want to make immediately, from a Shepard’s Pie Poutine, Falafel Waffle (yep a falafel that is a waffle), Thai Chicken and Dumplings and a Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Dutch Baby; we opted to share this tasty bowl of Cauliflower Clam Chowder with Crispy Bacon with you. It is made with cauliflower instead of potatoes which adds a bit of a zippy and crunchy flavor to the creamy clam broth. Crispy bacon is just a must for any bowl of clam chowder. The recipe is straightforward to follow using easy to find ingredients, and we had dinner on the table within thirty minutes. Bonus!
We highly recommend Modern Comfort Cooking for any home cook who is looking for new recipe ideas; as well, it would make an excellent gift for those who are just beginning to learn to cook; easy recipes that are rich in flavor and refreshing!
Cauliflower Clam Chowder with Crispy Bacon
3 slices bacon
3 tbsp (42 g) unsalted butter
1⁄2 cup (87 g) chopped celery
1⁄2 cup (99 g) peeled and chopped carrots
1 cup (251 g) chopped yellow onion
1 lb (450 g) cauliflower head, chopped into florets
11⁄2 tsp (16 g) garlic powder
1⁄4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground pepper
3 tbsp (24 g) all-purpose flour
11⁄4 cups (300 ml) whole milk
3 cups (720 ml) chicken stock
1⁄2 cup (120 ml) clam juice
1 bay leaf
3⁄4 cup (169 g) canned baby clams, drained
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
In a large Dutch oven preheated to medium-high heat, add the bacon slices. Sauté the bacon for about 5 to 6 minutes or until it becomes crispy. Remove the bacon from the Dutch oven with tongs and set it on a plate lined with a paper towel to cool. Once cool, chop the bacon and set it aside.
Remove 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of excess bacon fat from the Dutch oven. Keeping the temperature at medium-high heat, melt the butter. Next, add the celery, carrots, and onion. Sauté the veggies for a few minutes or until they become slightly softened. Next, add the cauliflower, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Using a wooden spoon, stir all the veggies and spices together making sure everything is well combined. Cook for another couple of minutes. Then add the flour and continue to stir until the flour has cooked out—about a minute.
Gradually pour in the milk, chicken stock, clam juice and add the bay leaf. Stir the mixture until it is well combined and bring it to a boil. Once at a boil, turn the chowder to a simmer. Simmer the chowder for about 15 minutes, or until it begins to thicken. Remove the bay leaf and add the chopped bacon back into the chowder along with the clams. Give one final, big stir and taste to make sure seasoning is to your liking. Add more salt and pepper, if desired. To serve, ladle the chowder into bowls and garnish with the parsley.