Cream of Roast Cauliflower & Cheese Soup

Photography By Erin Hicks | March 20, 2017

Preparation

Trim the stem and remove outer leaves of the cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower into 8 wedges. Brush a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Lay the cauliflower wedges flat side down on the baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Scatter the thyme sprigs over the cauliflower. Roast in at 350°F until tender and golden brown (about 30–40 minutes, turning the cauliflower wedges over halfway through the roasting time so both sides get caramelized).

In a large stockpot, sauté the leeks, shallots, carrot, celery, potato and garlic in cup extra-virgin olive oil. Add kosher salt, pepper and bay leaf and cook over low heat until completely tender and caramelized. Don’t rush this step, it adds flavor! Stir frequently to prevent burning. Add water and cover with a lid. Bring to a gentle boil then reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the cooked cauliflower and parsley. Cover again and simmer for about 5 more minutes, and then remove from heat. Filter out two cups of liquid and keep to adjust !

Purée the soup in a blender. Add the extra liquid you kept if the soup is too thick. Return to the stockpot, place over low heat and stir in cheese and cream. Cook until the cheese is melted. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve garnished with crispy bacon.

About this recipe

McPherson Old-Vine Chenin Blanc has a great combination of savory and mineral, a great complement to cheddar and those roasted notes with onion and leek. I love McPherson’s whites and have never tasted one I didn’t like.

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 finely diced cups leeks, pale green and white parts only (about 3 leeks)
  • ½ cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 cup finely diced carrot
  • 1 cup finely diced celery
  • 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 cups filtered or spring water
  • ⅓ cup chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (Redneck Cheddar from Veldhuizen Farm)
  • 1 cup cream
  • Garnish: 1 ounce bacon lardons per serving, fried crispy (Brown Sugar Pecan Smoked Bacon from Black Hill Meats)
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