Cauliflower and wild rice chowder

I’m a sucker for cauliflower. When I see this imposing veggie in the supermarket, I grab it. If you don’t have a go-to recipe, buying a cauliflower head is a big commitment. It’s a lot of vegetable. My favorite way to prepare cauliflower is in a soup, like this roasted cauliflower and almond soup.

I came up with this recipe for cauliflower and wild rice chowder during one of our short Miami cold spells (consisting of 2 days in December in the low 70’s).  I broke out my boots and we headed out into the sun, reveling in the cool breezes.

My son, who just turned one, was on a two-week food strike of sorts. He refused to eat anything on a spoon, which made feeding him a little difficult. After trying every sort of adult food and baby food (I make some pretty good baby food), he finally opened his mouth wide for cauliflower and wild rice, of all things.

Now I feel deep gratitude for my friend, the cauliflower. Covered in cheese, roasted, fried or souped…

Speaking of soup, let me just share with you how good this hearty chowder is. It is creamy and rich, with soft bits of cauliflower and slightly chewy wild rice. The nuttiness of the rice works with the sweet/nutty cauliflower and the contrasting colors are fun on your spoon. Its home cooking. It’s good. I like to eat a bowl with some crusty bread slathered with sweet butter, stopping to sop up the soup with the bread in-between spoonfuls. Soup day is a good day around here.

Cauliflower and wild rice chowder

Cauliflower and wild rice chowder

Cauliflower and wild rice chowder

Cauliflower and wild rice chowder

Cauliflower and wild rice chowder


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 + 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup wild rice
  • ½ teaspoon cumin (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 whole head cauliflower, chopped into florets and cubes
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons salt (to taste) and freshly ground pepper


In a large saucepan, cook the onion in 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat until soft, but not brown. Add the broth, wild rice bay leaf and cumin (if using). Cover and cook on low heat for 30 minutes.

Add the cauliflower to the pot and continue to cook, covered, for another 20 minutes.

While the pot is simmering, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and stir on low heat, about 2 minutes. Add the milk and cream. Whisk until it just comes to a simmer, then add to the cauliflower mixture. Season to taste with salt and plenty of fresh pepper.

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