Cauliflower subs for potatoes in this fall comfort supper soup.
Loaded Cauliflower Soup
6 bacon slices, chopped
1 cup chopped leek
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups chopped cauliflower florets and steams from 1 (2-1/2 lb) head)
3 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup half-and-half
2 pz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
3 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring often, until crisp – 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Reserve 1 Tbsp bacon drippings in pan, discard excess drippings.
Increase heat to medium-high. Add leek, celery and garlic to pan; cook, stirring often, until crisp-tender (about 5 minutes). Add cauliflower, stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduced heat to medium. Simmer until cauliflower is very tender – about 15 minutes.
Remove 1 cup vegetables with a slotted spoon; finally chop.
Pour remaining mixture into a blender; add half-and-half. Remove center piece of blender lid to allow steam to escape. Place lid on blender and cover opening with a clean towel. Process, starting slowly and increasing speed until contents are very smooth. (I use the puree setting on my 1970’s vintage Osterizer for about a minute). Return to pan with chopped vegetables and cook until warmed through – 2 or three minutes. Ladle into bowls and top with bacon, cheese and chives.
NOTE: This is a rich and satisfying soup. I felted it needed a little something extra so I wrapped peeled and deveined large shrimp with bacon and broiled them three minutes on a side (Turing once) for a tasty garnish. I allow three shrimp per serving. Without the shrimp and bacon it would still be a pretty good vegetarian soup.