Cauliflower Smoked Cheddar Soup
As summer winds down and the harvest rolls in it’s time to cozy up with a big bowl of vegetable goodness that is Cauliflower Smoked Cheddar Soup. Welcome to soup week on Food Gypsy.
With ‘Daily Soup’ on the menu at the big shiny kitchen, this Gypsy makes a lot of soup. Always fresh, from scratch, and often times in massive quantities. Supplying the demands of two locations plus our active catering department, I can often be found with tasting spoon in hand over twenty liters of soup. Writing this week’s posts I had to switch hats from ‘industrial soup maven’ to ‘home cook’, but if you ever need twenty liters of soup… you know who to call!
Quantities aside, this week I’m sharing three of my post popular soups form the shop, starting with wholesome, creamy cauliflower smoked cheddar soup.
As a general rule I prefer roux based soups, but as a kitchen professional I do my best to keep most of our soups gluten free. With a rising demand in gluten free products, it just makes sense. So I thicken with a cornstarch slurry rather than toasty, warm flour & butter. If the gluten free thing means nothing to you and your family then skip the cornstarch and substitute 1/4 cup of four, mixed with your onions as they sweat in the butter, and mix to a paste before adding the liquids (starting with the milk) and other vegetables (think bechemel).
When making a cream based soup I always start with milk and finish with heavy cream and only boil lightly after that. I’ve learned that this goes a long way to make sure your soup doesn’t split to become a curd-y mess. You’re welcome.
Cauliflower Smoked Cheddar Soup
Time: 40 minutes
Yield: four to six servings
3 tablespoons butter
1 large yellow onion (1 cup), chopped
2 medium carrots (1/2 cup), peeled & chopped
3 cups cauliflower, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon thyme
2 cups water (+ 2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream (35% milk fat preferred)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 cups smoked cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a large pot over medium high heat, melt your butter and add onions, cooking until transparent. Add carrots, cauliflower, garlic and thyme mix and sweat a minute or two longer then add water & milk to cover vegetables (if needed add a touch more milk).
2. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until vegetables are soft (about 15 minutes depending on the size of your cuts).
3. Remove pot from heat and blend until all ingredients are pureed into a smooth, loose base then return to medium heat. Add cream. Taste and season.
4. Bring soup back up to a low boil. Combine cornstarch and about 2 teaspoons of water to a thin paste in a small bowl. Add cornstarch slurry to pot, bit by bit, stirring as you do to prevent lumps and reveal consistency. You may not need all the cornstarch, or you may need more depending on the consistency of soup you desire. Personally, I like this soup nice and thick. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 – 15 minutes to reduce slightly and cook the cornstarch until you have a thick, smooth soup. Note: be sure to stir regularly as the solids have a tendency to sink and burn at this point (much to the chagrin of the dishwasher).
5. Remove from heat, add nutmeg and stir in shredded smoked cheddar cheese to melt and combine. taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve immediately. Finish with more cheese, a dash of herbs or just as is… naked.
Voila. Soup. Yup, it’s that simple. Perfect as a light meal or an easy, cheesy starter.