White Cheddar and Cauliflower Soup
1 lb cauliflower, cut into 1 1/2" florets
2 TB butter
1 medium onion, diced finely
1 garlic clover, minced
2 TB flour
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups chicken broth (if you want this to be vegetarian, of course use veggie broth)
1/2 cup cream or milk
2 cups water
3 sprigs thyme
4 cups (about 14 oz) sharp white cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 TB Toasted pecans
1 TB chopped basil
2 tsp lemon zest
In a large pot, bring enough salted water to a boil to cover the cauliflower. Boil the cauliflower for about 5 minutes or until just tender. Drain and set aside to cool. Remove 18 florets and trim the stems and cut the crowns so that you have little mini florets that are about 1/2 inch. Set the florets aside and return the stems back to the rest of the larger florets.
In a 4quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add your onions and 1/4 tsp of salt and saute until soft, stirring often. add the garlic and continue sauteing for an additional 2 or 3 minutes.
Turn the heat up a bit to medium and add the flour, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Continue cooking, stirring constantly for 3 minutes (this is your roux).
Whisk in the broth, cream and water. add the thyme sprigs (keep them "whole" cuz you're going to end up removing them). Bring to a simmer. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove the thyme sprigs and toss 'em out (they've done their job....toodles). Add the larger (1 1/2") cauliflower florets along with the cut stems. With an immersion blender, puree your soup. If you don't have one, work in batches and use a blender....being careful not to puree too much at a time. You don't want it to explode everywhere.
Season your soup with salt and pepper to taste. add the mini 1/2" florets to the soup and over a low heat, reheat your soup.
Garnish and serve immediately.
Pairs Well With
The flavor is smooth and tangy. The garnishments are a must! They add additional flavor, especially the lemon zest which adds a nice, fresh zing!