Monday, February 15, 2010

Chipotle Cheddar Cauliflower Soup...

Before we jump into tonight's post, I thought we'd post a sneak peek for this week's special Wednesday Treat Day. It has turned into a two-day job to get these done, but I'm excited to see how they turn out. I won't give too much away, but suffice to say that all one and a half pounds of this bad boy will be used!

Back to the original programming... I'm not one who is very fond of cold weather (and yes I realize how that sounds living in Minnesota), but what I do love is how the chill in the air makes you crave food that warms you from the inside out. This means hearty stews, casseroles, chili and the best of all, satisfying soups. If I had to pick a favorite out of those though, we gravitate towards soups because one can go so many directions with it and use up the bits and pieces of leftover ingredients in the refrigerator.

We went with that option tonight, making bowls of this Chipotle Cheddar Cauliflower Soup for dinner. For a lighter onion-y flavor, leeks form the aromatic platform of this soup. If you've never used them before, they can be very gritty if not cleaned well. I like to halve them first, slice them into thin half moons (using only the white and lighter green parts - the dark green section is quite tough) and then clean them by filling a bowl with cold water, setting the sliced leeks into a colander and then dunk them in and out of the water a few times. It may seem fussy and you could always just run the halved stalks under running water, but grit hides well and it only takes one experience to realize how worth cleaning them well is.

When the leeks began to turn soft, the soup comes together by adding in a head's worth of chopped cauliflower florets, milk, broth and a bay leaf. For a luxurious flow on the tongue, I went ahead and instead of using all regular milk, I held back on the amount and replaced it with a steady stream of half-and-half. While the filled pot simmers, give it a few strong stirs - as the cauliflower becomes tender, the roughness of that motion will begin to break the florets apart to disperse them into the soup.

The soup is somewhat thin at this point - to add enough body to allow the soup to cling better to a spoon, a small flour slurry was drizzled. Just be sure to bring the soup back up to a solid bubble to energize the slurry. As soon as you kill the heat, it's time to bring one of the best elements into this soup - cheese! If you don't want any heat or smokiness, by all means increase the amount of sharp cheddar to six ounces - however, as you know we crush on both of those, which led me to cut some of the white cheddar with a favorite chipotle version.

To bring all those subtle notes to the surface and add a spark of freshness, once the cheese had melted in, a strong squeeze from a lemon juiced this soup to life. This dish has a velvety feel in the mouth, but because we didn't puree the pot smooth, the bits of cauliflower retain a welcomed contrasting texture. We portioned this out into four soul-warming main-dish shares, but stretch it into six or eight servings to make for one magnificent starter.


  1. I love cauliflower, but can't get the family to eat it. I bet they would if I made this soup. Looks delicious!

  2. I'm new to your blog and I absolutely LOVE it. In fact I can't stay out of it! I tried your hamburger buns this weekend and they turned out beautifully. This soup is a definite must try among many of your recipes. Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. I am not a fan of cold weather either, and I live here too, lol! I don't think that is strange at all...I only know a handful of people who truly like cold weather!

    Hang in was warmer today, at least!


  4. mmmmm...wonderful ingredients!

  5. MRimmy - A good way to introduce it, I think!

    PRose - I love those burger buns!

    Courtney - Lovin' all the sun!

    Leslie - Thanks