As all the food bloggers will point out, when the weather gets cold and crappy, the temptation to make soup gets even more powerful. And even though spring “technically” starts tomorrow, it’s still very winter-ish here in southeastern Michigan, and so for the past few weeks, it’s been soup on the menu for Sundays. Soup on Sundays is not a bad habit to be in; it’s warm and comforting, you have plenty of time to let things stew, and you tend to have leftovers for the rest of the week.
Well, except when you make this cheesy cauliflower soup because in that case, all the leftovers disappear on a Tuesday night. Sure you get a tummyache afterward because you ate ALL THE SOUP by yourself, but oh, it was so worth it. This is one of our favorite soups of all time, discovered, of course, on Pinterest. I’m always amazed, however, at the reactions I get to this soup. Say the world “broccoli cheddar soup” and it’s like, “Oh yeah, that’s my jam. I get that at Panera all the time. Cheese and vegetables, yeah!” But if you decide to pair white cheddar with cauliflower and then puree it, suddenly it’s like, “Wait, are you eating ranch dressing?”
But it’s not ranch dressing, I swear! It’s the most delicious, creamiest soup ever! It’s the best cheese-based soup I’ve ever made, mainly because it’s absolutely fool proof. It involves a few steps, but overall it’s easy and so worth it.
Roasted Cauliflower and Aged White Cheddar Soup (originally found on Closet Cooking)
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 50 min.
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 3 tbl olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp thyme, chopped
- 3 cups of veggie or chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups white cheddar, shredded
- 1 cup milk or cream
- salt and pepper
What To Do:
Cut up your cauliflower. Personal note: cutting up cauliflower is so much more a pain in the ass than cutting up broccoli. Cauliflower just gets EVERYWHERE. Why you so difficult, cauliflower? I did not take a picture at this step because of frustration with cauliflower.
Spread out said cauliflower on a baking sheet, tossing in 2 tablespoons of the oil, salt and pepper, and bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, or until they’re light brown.
Heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan (I call this, my large soup pot) over medium heat. Throw in your onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
Shortcut: You know what I love? Frozen chopped onions. They’re my new favorite thing ever. Whenever I’m making soup or something where chopped onions serve as a base, I don’t mess around with regular onions that make me weep all over the place. I just open my freezer, grab the non-sad frozen onions, and away I go! For this recipe, I used about 1/2-3/4 cup of the frozen stuff.
When things get all sizzly, throw in your chopped garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant, like a minute. Fun fact: I’m not paying $5 for fresh thyme that I’ll only use once this week, so I used dried, powdered thyme. Not as cool as using the real stuff, but it still gives it that nice thyme-y smell/taste.
Then, add your chicken broth to deglaze the pan, and add the cauliflower. Bring it all to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
Shortcut: I typically don’t use “real” chicken broth because I’m cheap. Instead, I boil up some boillion cubes in water = instant broth! Woo!
Once everything is all simmered and done, you’ll want to puree your soup until it’s nice and thick and creamy. If you have a stick blender, this would be the time to whip it out. If you’re not cool enough to own a stick blender (like myself), you’ll have to transport your soup in batches to a real blender and puree that way. A little messier, sorry.
After that, or while the soup is simmering, shred up a block of white cheddar. Any white cheddar. For some reason, white cheddar is more expensive than orange cheddar, but it’s also tastier. Maybe because it’s less fake? Who knows. I like it more anyway. I just shred up a block instead of worrying about measuring out an exact cup and a half.
Since this recipe is full of so many shortcuts, I next warm up my heavy cream. Let me explain: when I have to buy heavy cream or buttermilk for a recipe, I almost never use the entire container at once. Which means I forget about it, and have to throw it away a week later once it goes bad, and then I feel bad about myself.
To avoid this, I now freeze my leftover cream and buttermilk. I read you can do this for buttermilk, but I have no idea if you can do it for cream. Oh well, doing it anyway. To make up roughly a cup of cream, I gently melted about six ice cubes worth of cream in a saucepan (the same one I used to make my fake chicken broth, if you’re counting dishes used…like I do…because I hate doing dishes).
Then, when it’s all done, make the magic happen: mix your shredded cheese into your pureed cauliflower soup. Bring it to a boil again, remove it from the heat, and then add your cream, and however much salt and pepper you want. Remember: you already salted your cauliflower when you roasted it, so it’s probably already pretty salty. Also, cheese is super salty. Don’t kill your arteries!
At that point, avoid drinking this through a straw. Instead, put it in a nice bowl, pair with a slice of freshly baked bread and enjoy!