I had a brief and intense fling with cauliflower during my brief and intense fling with the Atkins diet…the one that says you can have all the bacon that you want, so long as you don’t even THINK about eating one single solitary carbohydrate. Somewhere along the line I realized that pureed cauliflower tasted remarkably close to potatoes, which were forbidden. Atkins and I had to break up quickly due to my inability to live without pasta, but one of the best things it gave me was a love for all things cauliflower…which in turn has lead to this scrumptious roasted cauliflower soup.
This is a great make-ahead soup..it doesn’t take that long to make, but if you want to make it ahead anyway it reheats like a dream. You start by roasting the florets from one good-sized head of cauliflower with a little bit of olive oil. Cut them up pretty small – about 2 inch pieces or so – and don’t worry about being neat as they are going to get pureed down the line.
Once you have your roasted cauliflower ready, you’re going to cook up some bacon in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot until it is nice and crisp. Scoop out the bacon, and then cook the soup ingredients…onion, roasted cauliflower, chicken broth, some herbs and spices….until everything is nice and tender. Now get out your handy blender and blend away until everything is smooth and creamy.
All that’s left to do now is stir in a little milk and cream and cheese, heat it up (this is the part where you can reheat it if you were all organized and made it ahead of time), toss that bacon on top and serve it up. I think if I had known about this particular recipe during my Atkins flirtation I might actually have been able to give up the pasta. Maybe. We’ll never know!
Recipe lightly adapted from Taste of the South
- 1 large head of cauliflower, florets trimmed off and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 strips of bacon, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup chopped sweet onion
- 3 cups chicken broth (I like the Pacific and Imagine boxed brands)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme plus extra for garnish
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus extra for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 and line a cookie sheet with foil. Toss cauliflower with oil, place on prepared sheet and roast until slightly browned, about 30 minutes. Cool.
- Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven or other large pot until crispy. Remove with slotted spoon, leaving the bacon grease in the pot.
- Cook onion in the bacon grease over medium high heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add cauliflower, broth, herbs and spices and simmer for 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
- Working in batches if necessary, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Return to pot and add milk, cream and cheese. Heat over medium heat until soup is warm.
- Garnish with bacon, extra cheese and extra thyme and serve.