I've wanted to try making cauliflower cheese soup for a long time. I finally tried this recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe I found on Pinterest. Sometimes I make a recipe that is so good I can hardly stand it. The combination of flavors in this soup is amazing. Roasting the cauliflower first, instead of boiling it, gives it an incredible, complex flavor, and the rosemary and thyme is perfect with the white cheddar. I had to fight off my family so I could save a bowl to take pictures the next day.
I only did a few minor things differently: I pureed all of the soup, instead of half of the soup, because I wanted it to be smooth (I did keep out a couple pieces of the roasted cauliflower to use as garnish). Then I needed to add a bit more milk to make it the right consistency. And I left off the croutons. Other than that, this is all Mel. You should take a minute to go peruse her recipes, she has some really nice looking stuff over at her blog.
Use the best cheese you can stand to buy. Good quality cheese will melt nicely and won't make the soup greasy.
Roasted Cauliflower-White Cheddar Soup (from Mel's Kitchen Cafe)
1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 32-oz carton chicken broth
1 cup milk
1 1/2-2 cups sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
kosher salt and white pepper to taste
thinly sliced green onion (or chopped parsley) for garnish, if desired
extra shredded cheese for garnish, if desired
reserved pieces of roasted cauliflower for garnish, if desired
1. Heat your oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray it with non-stick spray or mist with olive oil.
2. Put the cauliflower on the baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, or mist with olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes, or until crisp-tender and browned in places. Stir 1 or 2 times during roasting.
3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil in a medium pot. Add the garlic and onion, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the thyme and rosemary and cook 3 more minutes.
4. Add the roasted cauliflower and chicken broth, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.
5. Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. **IMPORTANT: Let the soup cool for about 5 minutes before blending, and make sure to remove the plastic stopper in the blender cover and hold a folded towel or paper towels over the hole. Speaking from past experience when blending hot soup, this will prevent a very sad explosion of soup all over your kitchen. (OR you can blend the mixture smooth with an immersion blender right in the pot.)
6. Return the blended soup to the pot. Over medium heat, add the milk and cheese and stir gently while the soup heats through and the cheese melts. Add kosher salt and fresh cracked white pepper to taste. Serve with green onion and extra cheese, and reserved pieces of roasted cauliflower.
Makes 4-6 servings.