Fennel and Leeks

Fennel and Leeks

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

Olivia and I were walking through Metropolitan Market when we came across a tasting station that was serving Cauliflower Cheese Soup. Metropolitan Market is not only wonderful about having cheese and fruit samples available to customers, they also often prepare recipes for customers to try. I really appreciate this because not only can you taste the recipe, the market also provides a take-home flyer with the printed recipe to make at home. Olivia and I were both enamored with the soup and immediately decided to purchase the ingredients to make the recipe together. Anytime my butterfly wants to cook with me, I am in!

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 large cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
1 potato, peeled and cut into chunks
3 cups vegetable stock
2 cups milk (we used Lactose Free milk, which worked fine)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
freshly grated nutmeg
2 Tbsp mustard
4 oz cheddar cheese, grated
warm crusty bread, optional

Heat butter and oil in large saucepan. Add onion and garlic and cook gently until soft. Add cauliflower, potato, stock, and milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, or until cauliflower and potatoes are soft.

Blend soup in blender, in batches, until smooth.

Return to pan and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in mustard and cheese. Serve with warmed crusty bread.

This soup is just as tasty as I remember! The texture is creamy and the flavor of each ingredient is discernible without one ingredient taking over. Using potatoes in the recipe is a fabulous idea because it gives the soup more body and substance than cauliflower soups I have eaten in the past. I really liked the recipe as it was written, but I needed to make one change; I used 1/2 tablespoon mustard instead of two tablespoons. I love all types of mustard but Olivia asked me to use the ingredient sparingly. I also didn't season the soup with freshly ground pepper until it was in my own bowl. Olivia isn't a big fan of pepper so she asked me not to add it to the full pot of soup.

The magic in this recipe in my opinion, is the nutmeg. There is something special about a touch of freshly grated nutmeg in a dish. It adds a flavor profile that can't be accomplished any other way. It worked particularly well in this recipe because it cut through the richness of the cheese just enough by adding a touch of brightness. Pre-ground nutmeg doesn't provide the same flavor quality so I highly recommend purchasing whole nutmeg.

I served the soup with Grand Central Bakery's Rustic Baguette that I first baked for 10 minutes in the oven. Grand Central is a Seattle-based bakery that makes our very favorite bread called Como Bread. Now we can add Rustic Baguette to our list of favorites because it was delicious. It is pure coincidence that we have become friends with one of the owners (who also happens to be the Director of Operations) of Grand Central Bakery.  It was already our favorite local bakery long before we met her. She is the sweetest because every time her daughter comes over to play with Olivia, she brings us a loaf of fresh bread. Looks like our dedication to Grand Central has brought us good bread karma! Thank you, Gabby. :)

As a side note, the recipe originally called for either blending the soup in a blender or with a hand mixer. I first tried a hand mixer and as you can see in the photo below, it did not produce a smooth product. After this realization, I transferred the soup to my Oster blender and the texture turned out beautifully.

Recipe Source:
Metropolitan Market