Simply Cheesy Cauliflower Soup
Simply Cheesy Cauliflower Soup
What better way to enjoy the cooler temperatures than with a nice cup or bowl of soup. Now is the time to try out some new soup recipes and get prepared for what’s coming next, snow! Shhh, better now say that dirty word too loud, not with the way 2020 has been going so far. If I can recall correctly, it did snow on Halloween last year, so stranger things have happened. Nonetheless, let’s not jinx anything. Top big bowls of Simply Cheesy Cauliflower Soup with extra cheese, crispy bacon, or seasoned croutons.
Put Some Cheese On It!
Living here in America’s Dairyland, cheese is always on the menu. In my house, cheese is added to just about everything we make and eat. It’s considered an essential ingredient, much like onions and celery or salt and pepper. If cheese isn’t added directly to the dish, it’s often served on the side. Simply Cheesy Cauliflower Soup is made with Gruyere cheese but there are a number of other good options. Extra sharp, Wisconsin white cheddar cheese, smoky Gouda, mozzarella, Swiss, or any favorite cheese will do. With fall harvest season upon us, fresh veggies such as cauliflower, are ripe for the picking.
There is nothing better than fresh cauliflower. The taste just can’t be beat. If you can get your hands on some fresh cauliflower at your local farmers market, don’t walk on by! Grab a head or two of cauliflower, go home and make some soup! This soup is made with only a few ingredients, some you might already have on hand. The ingredients list for this recipe is short and sweet; oil, leeks, cauliflower, thyme, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, vegetable broth, evaporated milk, and cheese. Doesn’t get much easier than that.
Cauliflower Recipes to Try
A Word About Cauliflower
In the words of Mark Twain, “cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.” The name of this elegant member of the cabbage family comes from the Latin caulis, meaning stalk, and floris meaning flower. Cauliflower comes in three basic colors: white, green and purple. All cauliflower is composed of bunches of tiny florets on clusters of stalks.
Some white varieties will have a purple or greenish tinge. The entire floret portion, called the “curd” is edible. The green leaves at the base are also edible, but take longer to cook and have a stronger flavor than the curd. Cauliflower, which is a cruciferous vegetable, is high in vitamin C and is a fair source of iron.
This tasty cauliflower soup uses that sometimes forgotten vegetable, the humble leek. The mild leek can and should be used in any recipe that calls for onions or garlic. Leeks can be used together with onions or as a substitute. Guilty of not using this humble vegetable more often. I intend to change that fact, from this day forward. Also used in this simple recipe is an immersion blender or “boat motor.” The immersion blender is used to purée the cauliflower.
Purée the cauliflower as much or as little as you like. Don’t over purée your batch of soup, as I did. The soup wasn’t as thick as we would have liked. Next time, leaving most of the cauliflower in bite size pieces will be more to our liking. Now if you prefer a thinner soup, blend away! Immersion blenders can be purchased at any retail store or on Amazon. They’re relatively inexpensive too. If you’re lucky enough, you might even find one at a thrift store for a couple of dollars.
Leek Recipes to Try
A Word About Leeks
Leeks still hold a flavorful spotlight in today’s cuisine. Looking like a giant scallion, the leek is related to both the garlic and the onion, though its flavor and fragrance are milder and more subtle. It has a thick, white stalk that’s cylindrical in shape and has a slightly bulbous root end. The broad flat, dark green leaves wrap tightly around each other like a rolled newspaper. Leeks are available year-round in most areas. Choose those with crisp, brightly colored leaves and an unblemished white portion.
Clean Leeks Well
Avoid any leeks with withered or yellow-spotted leaves. The smaller the leek, the more tender it will be. Refrigerate leeks in a plastic bag for up to 5 days. Before using, trim rootlets and leaf ends. Slit the leeks from top to bottom and wash thoroughly to remove all the dirt trapped between the leaf layers. Leeks can be cooked whole as a vegetable or chopped and used in salads, soups and many other dishes.
Serve bowls of Simply Cheesy Cauliflower Soup topped with extra cheese, flavored oyster crackers, croutons, or my hubby’s favorite; crispy fried onions from a can. (Popular at Thanksgiving to top green bean casserole)
Cheesy Cauliflower Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1-1/2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white part only
- 1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1-32 oz. carton vegetable broth
- 1-12 oz can evaporated milk
- 1 1/2 cups sharp white cheddar cheese
- Additional shredded sharp cheddar cheese, optional
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add leeks; cook and stir 3-5 minutes or until tender. Stir in cauliflower, thyme, garlic and Worcestershire sauce. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 30-35 minutes or until vegetables are very tender.
- Puree soup using an immersion blender. Or, cool soup slightly and puree in batches in a blender; return to pan. Add evaporated milk and cheese; cook and stir 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted. If desired, sprinkle each serving with additional cheese and black pepper.
Wagner’s Market is located at 310 N Main St., Black Creek WI. 54106.