Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Home Kitchen - Creamy Cheesy Cauliflower Soup

I'm a happy camper today, the temperature is only going to get into the low-to-mid '80's - I can smell fall in the air! Warm or chilled, this soup makes a great meal and this recipe only takes about 30-40 minutes, start to finish. Originally from The New Good Housekeeping Cook Book (a wedding present), over the years I've modified it to reduce the amount of butter and half-and-half it calls for, but then I've added cheese, go figure.

If you have kids that turn up their nose at cauliflower, this will change their minds - at least it did for my two.

2 TBL. butter or margarine
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cauliflower, stemmed and cut in peices
1/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash ground red pepper
1 box (32 oz) chicken broth
1/2 c. half-and-half
1/2 c. skim milk
2 cups shredded Extra-sharp cheddar cheese (pre-shredded product not suitable, too much flour used as a sticky-stopper in it).

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and saute onion until transluscent. Add caulflower and stir thoroughly to coat with melted butter. Stir in flour, salt and pepper, again stirring thoroughly to stick to all the butter on the cauliflower. Gradually add in broth, bring to a light boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes (until cauliflower is very tender).

You can either blend the mixture in a blender or food processor, which will make it very smooth (and disguise the cauliflower from kids), or you can use an immersion blender, which will leave small tidbits of cauliflower in the soup - your choice. I would say the immersion method is much easier clean-up, which is a big deal in my cooking.

Place the soup back on the stove in the pan, add the half-and-half and milk. Keep on medium heat and once it's hot (steam begins to rise), gradually add the cheese. Don't let it boil, it's ready to serve once the cheese has melted.

If you want to serve this soup chilled, it thickens as it cools and you may need to add some additional milk to thin it out a bit.

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