Wait, please don’t run away. I realize that the title of this post might not rouse tons of enthusiasm and that the soup isn’t the most appetizing color. BUT, hang with me for a few minutes because this soup is fantastic… full of roasted delicious flavor and easy to make. It is warm and filling which, if you leave in any of the 49 states in the US that currently have at least a little snow (yes, I am jealous of you, FL), makes it a perfect soup for a winter evening.
The particular color of the soup is because we let our cauliflower get nice and roasted. If you choose to roast your cauliflower to a less, er, caramelized state, your soup would be more white than tan. However, looks aside, the taste of richly browned cauliflower mixes with roasted garlic, wine, and cheddar cheese in a really fantastic way.
Other than roasting the cauliflower (which takes about 40 minutes), this soup is very quick to put together. If you are pressed for time, you can roast your veggies in advance and pop them in the fridge. Once you are ready to make the soup, it only takes about 20 minutes of (largely unattended) time. We used an inexpensive riesling for the wine but you could use whatever type of white wine you have on hand (or omit the wine and use extra stock). Feel free to add a little cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes if you like a little heat or use fresh herbs if you’ve got them. Really, have a little fun with this soup… It is rich tasting, simple, and satisfying, especially when you are looking at 2 feet of snow in your driveway!
Roasted Cauliflower Cheddar Soup
Recipe adapted from the Tasty Kitchen Blog
1 large head of cauliflower
3 large cloves of garlic (or 6 smaller cloves) peeled and cut in half
2 tbls olive oil
3 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 tsp dried thyme (or 1 tbls chopped fresh thyme)
1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tbls chopped fresh oregano)
1 and 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Chop the cauliflower into florets, discarding the core. Place the cauliflower and halved garlic in a large bowl and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss with your hands until well combined and spread out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Put the sheet into the oven and roast, turning once, until the cauliflower is caramelized and is fork-tender, about 40-50 minutes.
Add the cauliflower and about two cups of the stock to a large saucepan or stock pot. Using an immersion blender, blend until the cauliflower is smooth and creamy. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can do this in batches in a regular blender. Just be careful that the steam doesn’t cause a blender explosion in your kitchen. Add the rest of the stock, the wine, and the dried herbs and bring to a gentle boil (make sure you add the puree back to the pot if you are using a regular blender). Turn the heat down and simmer the soup for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
Remove the soup from the heat and add the grated cheese, stirring until completely melted. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Serve immediately with some good bread for dipping. Serves 4. The cauliflower can be roasted ahead of time and held in the fridge for up to a few days. Just heat it with the stock a little before pureeing.