Thick and Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

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This thick and cheesy Cheddar Corn Chowder with Bacon is made light using cauliflower to thicken it, no cream added. Stove top and Instant Pot directions.

If thick and creamy and cheesy is your thing, then this is absolutely the soup for you. Plus, we stuffed it full of veggies, so you’re still getting tons of nutrients and a filling meal that’ll warm you up right from the first bite. This dish is not to be underestimated; if you first read that it’s a veggie chowder and thought, “what’s so great about that?,” definitely hang on a second and give it a shot. We have loved this soup since the first time we made it and firmly believe that it doesn’t need anything else to make it better, it’s perfect just the way it is – stuffed to the brim with broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, onion and celery, and perfectly seasoned with lots of yummy herbs.

INGREDIENTS
6 strips center-cut bacon, chopped
2 small yellow onions, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose, or gluten free flour
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
2 small Yukon gold potatoes, diced
1 12-ounce wedge cauliflower, stem intact
1 pound frozen corn kernels
1 cup whole milk
4 ounces shredded white sharp cheddar cheese

INSTRUCTIONS
Stove top directions
Place bacon in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot and sauté over medium heat, until cooked and crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
With the pot still over medium heat, add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions, add turmeric, thyme, salt and pepper, to taste, and cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly.
Add the broth, potatoes and cauliflower and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the pot (this releases the caramelized bits on the bottom). Bring the pot to a boil then decrease to simmer, cover and cook 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 4 ounces (about 2/3 cup) of the corn with a splash of water in a small microwave safe-dish until just defrosted, about 1 minute.
Remove the lid from pot and transfer the cauliflower, 1 cup of the soup and warmed corn to a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer puree back to the pot.
Add the remainder of the frozen corn, the milk and cheese. Mix then simmer for 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and soup is heated through. Taste and adjust salt, if necessary. Serve topped with reserved bacon pieces.
Instant Pot directions
Press the sauté button on an electric pressure cooker. Add the bacon and sauté until cooked and crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
In the pressure cooker (still on sauté), add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions, add turmeric, thyme, salt and pepper, to taste, and cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly.
Add the broth, potatoes and cauliflower and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the pot (this releases the caramelized bits on the bottom).
Seal and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Quick release, then open when the pressure subsides.
Meanwhile, heat the corn with 2 tablespoons of water in microwave safe-dish until just heated through, about 3 minutes.
Transfer the cauliflower, 1 cup of the soup and 2/3 cup warmed corn to a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer puree back to the pot and stir well.
Add the remainder of corn, milk and cheese. Mix then cover for 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and soup is heated through. Taste and adjust salt, if necessary. Serve topped with reserved bacon pieces.

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