Cheddar and Cauliflower Soup

This creamy soup gets its body from pureed cauliflower, though some tender whole florets are added just at the end of cooking to add texture. Sharp cheddar and cayenne give the mellow flavor a little lift. Serves six to eight. Yields 8 cups.
Cheddar and Cauliflower Soup
Cheddar and Cauliflower Soup

PREP TIME

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minutes

TOTAL TIME

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minutes

SERVINGS

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servings

PREP TIME

--

minutes

TOTAL TIME

--

minutes

SERVINGS

--

servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2

    head cauliflower (about 1 lb.), cored and cut into 1-1/2-inch florets

  • 2

    Tbs. unsalted butter

  • 1

    medium yellow onion, small diced

  • 1

    medium clove garlic, minced

  • 2

    Tbs. all-purpose flour

  • 1/4

    tsp. packed, freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1/8

    tsp. cayenne

  • 2

    cups lower-salt chicken broth

  • 1/2

    cup heavy cream

  • 3

    sprigs fresh thyme

  • 4

    cups grated sharp or extra-sharp white Cheddar (about 14 oz.)

  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat an oven to 425F. Toss cauliflower, onions, and garlic together in a large roasting pan. Drizzle the vegetables with the oil, season them with the pepper and thyme, and toss lightly to coat. Roast the vegetables uncovered for 25-35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they turn golden brown. Melt the butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and 1/4 tsp. salt and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until the aroma subsides, 2 to 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, add the flour, nutmeg, and cayenne and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in the broth, cream, and 2 cups water. Add the thyme and bring to a simmer. Stir in the cheese until melted and simmer for 5 minutes to develop the flavors. Remove and discard the thyme stems and stir in the larger cauliflower pieces and reserved stems. Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender. Return the soup to the pot, season with salt and black pepper to taste. Add the mini cauliflower florets and reheat gently before serving. variations To dress up this rustic soup for a special occasion, garnish with a combination of 3 Tbs. toasted chopped walnuts, 1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley, and 1-1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest. serving suggestions Pair the soup with an assertive Arugula Salad with Grapefruit and Olives. The tangy acidity of the salad cuts through the richness of the soup.

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