I’m going to let you in on a secret – most places where people use potatoes, I use cauliflower, and it tastes even better. Cauliflower has lots of edges to get nice and browned when roasting or frying, and it also tastes much sweeter and more flavorful than potatoes to me. Of course, cauliflower is also significantly healthier than potatoes. By contrast to potatoes (the food with the highest correlation to weight gain in a recent longitudinal study), cauliflower is high in vitamin C and fiber and a wonderfully filling and nutritious ingredient. And, really, it tastes delicious. Like in this cauliflower blue cheese soup where it’s pureed with caramelized onions and then mixed with blue cheese and creme fraiche. An easily customizable recipe – use cheddar or gruyere for a more traditional “baked potato” type of soup, or change up the toppings with what you have around. I topped mine with parsley, smoked paprika, and crushed red pepper (I used my usual favorite, Turkish red pepper, but any should do), but crumbled bacon, diced apples or pears, or candied nuts would all also work wonderfully.
Cauliflower Blue Cheese Soup (adapted from 101 Cookbooks)
Yield: 4 – 6 servings
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets and stem chopped
- 3 – 4 cups stock*
- 1/2 – 1 cup blue cheese**
- 1/3 cup creme fraiche***
- salt and pepper, to taste
- parsley (optional)
- smoked paprika (optional)
- crushed red pepper (optional)
*Adjust based on your desired consistency for the final soup.
**Adjust based on the strength of your blue cheese.
***I actually used crema salvadorena because that’s what I had on hand; you can substitute with any crema or with sour cream or yogurt (if using sour cream or yogurt, turn off the heat before adding or else it will curdle). For a great cheat sheet on different cultured milk products, check out The Cook’s Thesaurus.
- In a dutch oven or other large pot, heat 1 Tbsp butter over medium heat, then add 1 onion, thinly sliced, and sautee until translucent and starting to darken, about 5 – 10 minutes.
- Add 4 thyme sprigs, 2 bay leaves, and 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets and stem chopped, and stir together until the cauliflower starts to sizzle, about 1 – 2 minutes.
- Pour in 3 – 4 cups stock, and bring to a boil. Lower heat, and let simmer until the cauliflower is soft, about 20 minutes.
- Using a blender or immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.
- Add 1/2 – 1 cup blue cheese, and stir until thoroughly melted, about 3 – 5 minutes.
- Stir in 1/3 cup creme fraiche, then add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve topped with parsley, smoked paprika and crushed red pepper, if desired.