this week in our kitchen: loaded cauliflower soup

Soup is a lot like a family. Each ingredient enhances the others; each batch has its own characteristics; and it needs time to simmer to reach full flavor.

Marge Kennedy

You know how people claim that a “healthier” version of a food or dish actually tastes better than the original? And then you roll your eyes because you know they’re just saying that to try to convince you — and probably themselves? Well, I’m usually just as skeptical of those people and their claims. But, ladies (and, guys), the hubs and I recently made a loaded cauliflower soup that rivals any potato version I’ve ever had. 

While we did take full advantage of the loaded portion of the dish, which may or may not have canceled out all of those healthier-version benefits, I’m still counting this as a healthy win — that just happened to be delicious. 

LOADED CAULIFLOWER SOUP

Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
Total time: 40 minutes / Serves 4

The What

  • 5 cups chopped cauliflower florets
  • 6 bacon slices, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped leek
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 cups chopped cauliflower florets and stems (from 1 [2 1/2-lb.] head)
  • 3 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green onions (or chives)

The How

  1. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium, stirring often, until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Reserve 1 tablespoon drippings in pan; discard remaining drippings.
  2. Increase heat to medium-high. Add leek, celery, and garlic to hot drippings in pan; cook, stirring often, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower, stock, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Simmer until cauliflower is very tender, about 15 minutes. Remove 1 cup vegetables with a slotted spoon; finely chop.
  3. Pour remaining mixture into a blender; add half-and-half. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); attach lid, and place a clean towel over opening in lid. Process, starting slowly and increasing speed, until very smooth, 1 minute and 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Return mixture to pan with chopped vegetables; cook over medium until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls; top with bacon, cheese and green onion. 
  4. Enjoy!

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