I make a lot of soup, but this one is my favourite at the minute. It is influenced by the rich cauliflower cheese dish, but this is a much lighter version – perfect for a starter where you want those classic flavours but don’t want to fill up too much prior to a main course. You can also serve this with crusty bread for the perfect stand alone lunch.
This has leek and onion as the base, which once softened gives a beautiful rich sweet umami flavour. Sweating them with the lid on prevents the liquid released from the onion and leek from evaporating too quickly. This enables slow cooking in the leek and onion juices, preventing sticking to the pan and lots of stirring.
A large cauliflower is great here. They can vary a lot in weight. The one I used here was 800 g, but there is room for give or take of around 200 g. Similarly the potatoes weighed 200 g. More potatoes will result in a creamier soup, less will result in a thinner texture. Cutting both the cauliflower and potato quite small shortens the cooking time.
For seasonings, add about 3 – 5 sprigs of thyme (pick the leaves) and about as much parsley. Nutmeg is also a lovely addition here, just rounding that creamy milk flavour off. Obviously like most things, a healthy dose of salt and pepper just finished the dish.
Herby cauliflower cheese soup
- 1 leek
- 1 onion
- 50 g butter
- 1 large cauliflower (800 g)
- 2 medium potatoes (200 g)
- 200 g cheddar cheese
- 1 tbsp vegetable boullion powder
- 500 ml water
- 500 ml milk
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 1 small bunch of parsley
- salt and pepper to season
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add chopped onion and leek, cover a sweat for 5 minutes until soft.
- Break the cauliflower into small florets and chop any stalk finely. Dice the potatoes into 1 cm cubes. Add the cauliflower florets and potatoes to the leek and onion mixture. Cover and sweat for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the vegetable buollion powder with 500 ml of water and 500 ml of milk and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering for 5 – 10 minutes until the cauliflower and potato are very soft.
- Add grated cheese, herbs, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Blend until a reasonable smooth texture has been reached. A little texture tastes really good in this soup so don't worry about getting it very smooth.