Monday, January 17, 2011

Cheddar Cauliflower Soup

Chris. Hates. Cauliflower.

But this soup made him a believer.  In fact, he went back for seconds and said he couldn't even tell there was any cauliflower in it.  Wahaha, hidden veggies!  Did you ever notice how cheese is a great mask for healthy foods?  This soup is a great twist on its more famous cousin, broccoli cheddar soup, and packs a complex flavor punch from the leeks.
 
Leeks.  Prior to this recipe I had not worked with leeks before and had no idea how to wash them (boy they're dirty!) nor how much of it to use (just the whites, just the greens, all of it??).  I just went about my business and used the whole thing in this recipe.  Now looking back and reading more carefully and looking at the recipe picture it looks like they only used the whites and light green.  I say it turned out well so hey, more green is more fiber and more flavor!  Oh and hey, if a little dirt got in the final dish it's just adding an ummm...earthy flavor :).  Since then I've gotten The New Best Recipe from the Authors of Cook's Illustrated for Christmas and found they had a blurb on how to wash and cut leeks.  This version on eHow is pretty much the same.

Don't let the leeks scare you.  They're just like green onions on steroids :).  In fact, I'm really starting to enjoy leeks.  They starred in a carmelized form for my New Year's Brunch quiche, helping me to check off one of my 23 Things I Want to Make in 2011 List.  (Now to blog about that recipe...)

This soup will warm you up on a cold night and oooh, only 186 calories per serving!

One Year Ago: It was the dinner that I cooked up to celebrate my Mom's birthday!  On the eclectic menu was Zuppa Toscana, Sun Dried Tomato, Basil and Parmesan Muffins, Shrimp Scampi Bake, and the infamous Chinese Bolo Bao with Nai Wong Filling.

Cheddar Cauliflower Soup
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Yields: 8 servings (1 cup each)
Cook Time: 35 Minutes

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced and rinsed
  • 4 cups chopped cauliflower florets (from 1 medium head)
  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk, divided
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Directions
  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring, until very soft, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower, 2 cups milk, water, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is soft, about 8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup milk and flour in a small bowl. When the cauliflower is soft, remove the bay leaf and stir in the milk mixture. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the soup has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Stir in cheese and lemon juice.  If desired, create a smoother soup by using a potato masher or blender.
Source: Eating Well, January/February 2010

Nutritional Information: 186 calories; 11 g fat (5 g sat, 3 g mono); 27 mg cholesterol; 13 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 10 g protein; 2 g fiber; 488 mg sodium; 198 mg potassium; Vitamin C (45% daily value), Calcium (27% dv); Vitamin A (15% dv).

2 comments:

Nicole M., MS, RD, LD said...

This sounds WONDERFUL! I am putting it on next week's menu!

Christine said...

Thanks for your comment, Nicole! We really enjoyed this soup. Definitely stop by afterward to let me know how you like it.

For extra flavor, you may consider substituting chicken broth for some or all of the water (I subbed half). This, of course, would change the nutritional content some.