Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup

It's fridge-and-freezer clean-out time. Last weekend when I opened the freezer to grab a package of frozen peas, I nearly got beaned by a block of frozen-solid butternut squash; another time, I narrowly escaped an avalanche of baggies filled with stock cubes - shellfish, veggie, chicken, beef, I've got all sorts of homemade stock in there. In order to store new items in there now, I have to play an intricate game of freezer-tetris. I haven't seen the back of the freezer in ages, so yes, it's time to clear out some of the things in there.

The kids are off school this week, and expect a real lunch and snacks every day - the nerve!- so I imagine that I'll be able to go through my packed fridge and freezer at a pretty good pace even if it means just throwing together small meals from random ingredients.They're finally at a more adventurous eating age, so we can try out new things. Gone are the days when all they will eat is buttered and parmed spaghetti or boxed mac-n-cheese. Thank God.

For lunch yesterday, I made a roasted cauliflower soup and crostini with pesto using some of the ramps I got this weekend. The kids cleaned their soup bowls pretty quickly: Score 1 for Mom.

Roasted Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup

Serves 3


  • 1/2 head small cauliflower, roughly chopped or broken into florets
  • 1 small shallot, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt 
  • 1/ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 strip of peppered bacon
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsnip, chopped
  • 1/4 cup celery root, chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable stock - or chicken stock
  • 2 fresh sprigs of thyme
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • fresh sprigs of thyme


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Toss the garlic clove, shallot and cauliflower florets with a tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 25 minutes or until the florets are browned on the edges. Place in a bowl when they've finished roasting.
  2. Chop the bacon into 1-inch pieces and cook until crispy. Remove the bacon pieces to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.
  3. Add the chopped onions to the bacon fat and cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, then add the parsnip and celery root. Cook until the vegetables are softened.
  4. Add the roasted vegetables, 2 sprigs of thyme and the stock to the pot, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, adding a bit more stock or water as needed. 
  5. Blend the soup with an immersion blender or in a blender until it is the consistency you  like.
  6. Add the cheddar and heavy cream, stirring until melted.
  7. Serve topped with reserved bacon and more thyme.

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