Recently, Roger and I stopped at a local family-owned coffee shop and were enticed into having a bowl of their homemade cauliflower cheddar soup. It was so delicious that I contemplated offering to wash their dishes if they would give me the recipe! Alas, I was left to deconstruct the soup on my own—but I rose to the challenge.
I was able to determine that there was no cream in the soup, and I surmised that they puréed some of the vegetables in order to achieve the creamy consistency. The soup was creamy but not totally puréed; it had small pieces of cauliflower and a token green bean or two. I decided to add some broccoli and carrots for flavor and some visual interest. They were a great addition.
The soup had a tangy cheese flavor that I knew wasn’t due to the cheddar but to a more strongly flavored cheese such as Asiago, Romano, or Parmesan. It was an easy decision to try adding Romano because I adore it. I sprinkle Romano cheese over many of the soups that I make, but I had never added it to a soup in the pot to blend it in. It worked beautifully, and Roger and I both thought it was as good as—if not better than—what we had tasted at the coffee shop.
Score one for me!
One year ago: Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirl Brownies
Fran’s Cauliflower Cheddar Soup with Broccoli & Carrots
- 1 large stalk broccoli
- 2 carrots, sliced into pennies
- 3 tbl. butter
- 2 leeks, white only – thinly sliced
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 1 medium potato, cut in half (will be removed and puréed to thicken soup so don’t cut smaller)
- 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 6 tbl. grated Romano cheese
- 1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese*
- 1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
*I prefer to shred my own block of cheddar cheese. Most of the packages of pre-shredded cheeses have anti-caking agents in them which I feel affects the flavor of the cheddar.
In a small pan, steam the broccoli and carrots together. I purposely did not cut the broccoli prior to cooking because I thought it would cook more uniformly with the carrots. I also thought it would be easier to cut the broccoli into small bite-sized pieces after it was cooked. That worked out well on both counts. As mentioned, cut the broccoli into small bite-sized pieces. The carrots are ready as is since you have cut them into penny-sized pieces. Set aside broccoli and carrots after cooking.
Melt the butter in a large stock pot (I used my 8-quart stock pot). Sauté the leeks and onion until softened and golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and sauté another couple of minutes. Add the potato, cauliflower, and chicken broth and bring to a boil and then lower to a lively simmer.
When the potato and cauliflower are tender, remove the two potato pieces but leave the cauliflower in the pot. Now remove two cups of the cauliflower/vegetable mixture including some of the liquid from the pot, place it in a blender along with the reserved potato pieces, and purée it in a blender, being careful to vent it so that the top doesn’t blow off. If you need a little more liquid from the pot in order to purée the veggies into a smooth thick liquid, that’s OK. Return the puréed mixture to the pot. It should appear thick and creamy. Stir in the broccoli and carrots.
Add the ground white pepper; then add the Romano cheese and shredded cheddar cheese and stir until melted.
I decided to cook the broccoli and carrots separately and add them after thickening the soup with the puréed cauliflower and potato because I wanted to keep the color of the soup “white” rather than muddy the color with puréed green and orange vegetables.