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 ⅓ 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.