Dinner Tonight: Cauliflower-Cheddar Soup

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Most of the cauliflower I eat is roasted or sautéed until it's perilously close to looking burnt. It's hard to describe why it tastes so good when it looks so bad, but it really does a number on me and partly explains why it's one of my favorite things to cook.

But this recipe retreats back to a time when cauliflower was treated gently and calmly. It gets a slow simmer to make sure everything is politely tender. Cheddar cheese is also involved, which seems straight out of some horrible childhood memory (when this vegetable was on the do-not-want list).

While this recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook may sound tame, but it still manages to be comforting and warming, but not boring. Thanks should go to the carrots and potatoes for thickening the soup and also adding some crucial sweetness.

It's a blended soup, but some of the florets are left whole to keep things texturally interesting. It's not my favorite way to eat cauliflower, but it shows the versatility of this great vegetable.

Cauliflower-Cheese Soup

- 4 to 6 servings -
Adapted from Moosewood Cookbook.

Dinner Tonight: Cauliflower-Cheddar Soup

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About This Recipe

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Ingredients

  • 1 large potato, peeled, and diced
  • 1 large cauliflower, stems removed and florets separated
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups grated cheddar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • Black pepper

Procedures

  1. 1

    Set aside two cups of the cauliflower florets, and then add the rest to a large pot with the potato, carrot, garlic, onion, salt and water. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Puree this soup in batches in a blender. Return the soup to the pot.

  2. 2

    Meanwhile, place the remaining cauliflower florets in a steamer basket set above boiling water. Steam those until tender, about 8 minutes.

  3. 3

    Add the steam cauliflower to the pot along with the cheddar, milk, dill, and caraway seeds. Season to taste with black pepper and salt. Serve.

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