|White Cheddar Roasted Cauliflower Soup|
Even after making it dozens of times, it still amazes me that something as simple as high-heat roasting can transform this vegetable from something lacklustre and abhorred into something that I cannot stop eating. High-heat roasting concentrates the sugars and gives cauliflower a depth and nuttiness that cannot be coaxed out of it any other way. I would not have thought it possible because cauliflower seems quite bland, but when you roast it, it takes it to a whole new level. It seems to caramelize on the edges and brings a light sweetness to the palate.
So, I thought to myself, I wonder what would happen if I roasted cauliflower, then turned the intensely flavourful florets into soup? Of course there were many others who had come to this conclusion before me but for me it was something new. The results? A silky, luxurious and ultimately satisfying soup that is simple to prepare and satisfies you on all levels.
It can be made even more healthy by using milk instead of half-and-half and dropping the cream. In truth I mixed a little soup with the cream to create a swirl and didn't actually add it to the soup during cooking. I found a 5-tear aged Canadian Cheddar that does not overpower the roasted cauliflower but compliments it instead. If there is a soup that you must try this winter, this is the one!
**White Cheddar Roasted Cauliflower Soup**
from the kitchen of More Than Burnt Toast
1 large head cauliflower (2 - 2 1/2 lb), cored and chopped into small, bite size pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup finely chopped leek, white part only
1/4 cup white wine
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups 1/2 and 1/2 cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or a slightly heaping 1/4 teaspoon dried)
1 bay leaf
1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese, plus more for serving if desired
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Serve with Cheddar Gougeres (recipe to follow)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place cauliflower on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and toss to evenly coat, then spread into an even layer and season lightly with salt and pepper. Bake in preheated oven 20 - 25 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and set aside.
In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add in leeks and saute until butter is melted. Add 1/4 cup wine and continue cooking on medium heat until tender, about 4 - 5 minutes. Add in garlic; stir. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly 1 1/2 minutes.
While whisking, slowly pour in chicken stock. Add in parsley, thyme, bay leaf, roasted cauliflower and season soup with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently and allow to cook until thickened slightly. Add 1/2 and 1/2 and cream and continue to heat up.
Remove bay leaf. Puree the soup in a blender or preferably with an immersion blender. Remove from heat and stir in sharp white cheddar and parmesan cheese. Serve warm garnished with additional shredded white cheddar, parsley and serve with fresh bread or gougeres if desired.
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