Sunday, December 13, 2015

Roasted Cauliflower and Aged White Cheddar Soup

Laura has been talking about this soup forever and for some reason, I didn't get around to making it until last month.  I don't know what took me so long, because it's delicious and right up my alley.  It's a creamy, decadent, velvety soup flavored with aged white cheddar and fresh thyme.  The cauliflower is not just a backseat passenger either; its roasted, so it's a tiny bit sweet and more complex than you usually give cauliflower credit for.

If you're feeling rushed this week (is anyone not feeling rushed mid-December?) this soup should probably make it on your meal plan, because it's pretty simple.   You do need to roast the cauliflower, which adds an extra step, but I see no reason why you couldn't roast it today on the weekend and then make it into a soup in 30 minutes tomorrow. Plus - and I don't know how I didn't notice this earlier - there is an option to make this in the slow cooker.  Even simpler.  So you have no excuses.

When I made this, I accidentally only had regular orange cheddar, not aged white.  It was a totally acceptable substitute.  However, Laura has brought me some of her soup made properly with the correct cheese, and it's incredible.  Basically you can't go wrong with any cheese, but the aged cheddar gives it an extra zing and keeps the creamy white color (the orange cheese gave it a little color, obviously).  I'll be making this again real soon.  There's currently a cauliflower in my refrigerator just waiting for its chance to be roasted and soup-ified!


roasted cauliflower and aged white cheddar soup
from Closet Cooking
serves 4

1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
3 tablespoons oil, divided
salt and pepper to taste
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
3 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth/stock
1 1/2 cups aged white cheddar, shredded
1 cup milk or cream


1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the cauliflower florets in 2 tablespoons of the oil, along with salt and pepper.  Arrange them in a single layer on a large baking sheet and roast in oven until lightly golden brown, about 20 - 30 minutes.

2) Heat the oil in a large sauce plan over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5 - 7 minutes.

3) Add the garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant, about a minute.

4) Add the broth and deglaze the pan.  Add the cauliflower and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 20 minutes.

5) Remove from heat.  Puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency with a stick blender.  Back on the heat, mix in the cheese, letting it melt without bringing it to a boil again.  Mix in the milk, season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat.  Serve.

To use a slow cooker: implement step 1, 2 and 3; place everything except the cheese and milk in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 - 10 hours or high for 2 - 4 hours.  Add the cheese and milk and cook until cheese has melted.

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