Smokey & Brothy Cauliflower Soup

IMG_7119Sigh. It was 28 degrees outside and 50 degrees inside my house today. I suppose cooler days are here to stay? And yes, I am a freak about waiting as long as possible to turn on my heat. Blame my New England roots or just my sense of competition but last year I made it to November 15 and now I have a title to beat (she says while wearing yoga pants, socks, Uggs, long sleeve shirt and fleece pullover – cozy!)

To help keep my house from you know, freezing me from the inside out, I decided to make soup. I had bought quite possibly the largest head of cauliflower I had ever seen at Findlay Market last week. While I’ve enjoyed some of it roasted with turmeric, steamed as a side dish and raw in a salad this week, I still had lots to go. To the soup pot!

I love a rich bowl of soup and it would have been easy to add milk or cream to the smooth cauliflower base, but I decided to keep this cauliflower treat broth-based. Still tons of flavor; but with that perfect slurp-able broth consistency. Excellent for bread dunking and mug drinking. Plus calories and fat clock in at 90 cals and 3 grams of fat per serving respectively (as calculated by me on myfitnesspal.com). So go wild and have a second bowl.

Lest you think I’ve gone totally healthful on you, this recipe has cheese and bacon in it.

Smokey and Brothy Cauliflower Soup
Time: 1 hour ~ Servings: 8, 1-cup servings

4 slices (1/3 lb) center cut bacon, diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled & diced
1 large yellow onion, peeled & diced
2 tbs AP flour
1 large head of Cauliflower, trimmed and chopped (about 4-5 cups of florets)
5 – 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth (depending on your brothy preference)
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
1 tbs dried thyme
1 tbs dried parsley (or 1/4 c. cleaned and chopped fresh parsley)
1 tbs smoked paprika (more or less to taste)
1 tsp black pepper
Salt (optional)

For serving: additional shredded cheese, crumbled bacon and black pepper

Set a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add bacon. Cook until bacon is starting to crisp (about 5 minutes), add garlic and onion, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a small pot, add cleaned cauliflower florets and 1/2 c. water. Cover pot and cook over medium heat until cauliflower is fork tender about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, drain water and return cauliflower to small pot.

Once the garlic/onions/bacon have softened, sprinkle in flour, tossing to coat the vegetables. Slowly, add about 1 cup of broth to deglaze the pan, Stir briskly to bring up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and ensure the flour is incorporated. Add remaining broth and allow soup to come to a simmer.

Pureeing the cauliflower: I used my immersion blender to blend the softened cauliflower in it’s own pot until smooth. I then slowly added the pureed cauliflower to the soup. I wanted to keep the bacon and onion discernible but you could certainly add the softened cauliflower to the soup, and puree the entire soup to the consistency you want. I prefer to use an immersion blender, but a regular blender is fine. Just allow room in the blender for the hot soup to expand.

Once the cauliflower is blended into the soup, stir in cheddar cheese. This is optional. I think it adds a bit more dimension and flavor; but you can skip it if you prefer to keep the calories even lighter (or save for serving at the end). Time to season! Stir in thyme, parsley, black pepper and smoked paprika. I love the smokey flavor of the paprika, but it’s up to your taste preference.  Taste here before adding salt. Bacon, broth and cheese will add salt so you may only need a pinch.  Allow soup for simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes.
Makes 8, 1-cup servings.
Serve with crumbled bacon, shredded cheese and/or parsley.
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Can I reach my mug of soup from under my blanket?

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#nailedit

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