Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower & Aged White Cheddar Soup

Who doesn't like a nice creamy soup on a cold winter day?

Yield: 6 entree servings or about 12 appetizer servings

1 head cauliflower, stem and leaves removed, cut into florets
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium white onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup pilsner or other beer
2 cups aged white cheddar,
2 cups heavy cream

1 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste

Drizzle the cauliflower with oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast at 400 degrees until golden brown and soft, or for about 30 minutes.

Heat remaining oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the herbs, roasted cauliflower, beer, and vegetable broth, then bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer in covered pot for about 20 minutes.

Next, puree the soup with an immersion blender or food processor until it reaches desired consistency, then mix in the cheese.  Continue mixing until the cheese is fully melted, then season to taste with cayenne, salt and pepper.  Stir in the cream, remove from heat and serve.  

If desired, garnish with additional cheese, parsley, and/or bacon (see below), and serve with crostini or french bread.

Options:  For a healthier version, swap out the heavy cream for milk.  This can be vegetarian as in the recipe above or (as in the pics) for a smokier flavor, cook 2-3 slices of bacon in pan, reserve some of the drippings and cook the onions and garlic in those drippings instead of olive oil.  You can then use the crumbled cooked bacon to garnish the soup with.  Enjoy!  

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