Thursday, March 29, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower and Aged Cheddar Soup

When I found this recipe on Closet Cooking, the photos looked so creamy, warm and delicious that I knew I needed to try it. However, I have to admit I was skeptical. I like cauliflower a lot, but for some reason the idea of pureeing it and turning it into soup didn’t seem all that appetizing. But I am really glad that I put those thoughts aside and tried it. It was just as creamy and belly-warming as the photos made it look, and the aged white cheddar gave it an extra level of flavor. Even better, it was easy to make. Just give yourself enough time to roast the cauliflower (about 20-30 minutes). The only thing I might change when I make it again (and I will!) is to substitute chicken broth for the vegetable broth. Just a personal preference. My husband also mentioned that it would be good with some meat, and i agree that some sliced sausage or cubed ham would be a tasty addition.

1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
Olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups aged white cheddar, shredded
1 cup milk or cream
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Try to keep the cauliflower florets relatively the same size so they will cook evenly. Toss the florets with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste until they are evenly covered. Spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast them until they are just golden, about 20-30 minutes. You may want to stir them halfway through.

Once the cauliflower is roasted, heat about 1 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the onion and cook until it softens (5-7 minutes), then add the garlic and thyme for about a minute. Finally, add the broth and cauliflower and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer about 20 minutes.

Puree the soup with your handy immersion blender, if you have one. If not, be careful transferring it to your standard blender, and think about doing it in batches. Once it’s pureed and smooth, take it back to low heat and mix in the cheese. Yay, cheese! Let it melt, taste it, and salt and pepper to your liking. Then mix in the milk or cream and remove from the heat. I used milk and it was still really creamy, so unless you really want the extra calories, I don’t think you need to step up to cream. But hey, no judgment if you do. That’s it! Ladle into bowls and enjoy it.

(click here for printable recipe)

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