Creamy, rich, cheesy, spicy - I'd say this soup is more like a chowder but since I neglected to put any potatoes in it, I suppose it really is a soup. Regardless of what you want to call it, a bowl of this creamy spicy invention was just what the tastebuds craved on what we call "Almost Meatless Monday".
As you all know by now, my Eastern Oregon cowboy doesn't do meatless and I tricked him last night with a soup and sandwich combo. I had a head of cauliflower in the fridge that had seen better days, so I cut off the discolored spots and divided the head into florets. It hit the soup pot after I'd sauteed some onion, celery and carrots, along with a touch of cayenne pepper, curry powder, nutmeg, salt and pepper. A couple of cups of chicken stock, some whole milk and cheese rounded out the pot, and we pretty well had what amounted to a meal in a bowl.
We had our soup "garnished" with grilled gruyere and ham sandwiches that I whipped up on some rustic boule slices, slathered with coarse ground Dijon mustard and a touch of mayo and dipped in an egg/milk mixture. Fried on a hot grillpan, they were a cheesy crispy accompaniment to a soup hearty enough to fly on its own. This isn't your usual bland and boring cauliflower soup either. I hope you'll give it a try soon! Download Cheesy Cauliflower Soup
Cheesy Cauliflower Soup (inspired by Taste of Home)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 medium head cauliflower broken into florets
3 cups chicken stock
1 chicken bouillon cube (optional)
2 cups whole milk (divided)
4 tablespoons Wondra (instant blending flour)
4 ounces grated cheese (cheddar, swiss, 4 cheese blend, Velveeta or a combination)
Heat butter and vegetable oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrots and cook until vegetables are soft – about 5 minutes. Add cayenne pepper, curry powder, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook for additional 2 minutes. Add cauliflower, chicken stock and chicken bouillon. Stir well to combine, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes or until vegetables are cooked. Whisk flour into half cup of milk until smooth, and to pot along with remaining milk. Simmer for additional 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cheese and stir until melted. Do not allow to boil. Makes 8 servings.