3 cups chicken or vegetable stock, divided use
1 1/4 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar
1/2 cup milk
1 medium onion, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets (about 4 1/2 cups)
1 head broccoli, cut into florets (about 3 cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and celery and cook until the onions and shallot are soft and translucent. Do not let them brown. Add the cauliflower, spices and 2 cups stock. Bring broth to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce to a simmer and cook 20-30 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and easily cut, stirring occasionally. The broth will not totally cover the cauliflower but don’t worry- stirring will be enough to ensure the cauliflower cooks through.
Using a regular blender or immersion blender, blend the cauliflower mixture until very, very smooth and creamy. If you are using a regular blender, you will probably have to do this in steps so pour the blended soup into another large pot as you go. If using an immersion blender, you can blend the soup right in the same pot. Once blended, add the milk, remaining stock, vinegar and broccoli. Return to heat and allow to simmer until the broccoli is fork tender. Pulse the blender until the soup is mostly smooth. Stir in the cheese and serve.
I love the idea of broccoli-cheddar soup more than I actually like the soup itself. It is just a little too rich for me. I’ve seen “light” versions of the soup but they all seem to call for reduced fat cheese (blah) or using milk which I think makes the soup too thin. I remembered how creamy this cauliflower soup was that I made (could it really be four years ago?) and posted. That soup was rich and creamy but the body of the soup came from the cauliflower, not heavy cream. Why couldn’t I use pureed cauliflower as a base for a broccoli soup? I experimented and I have to say, the results were great. The cauliflower blends into a smooth, creamy soup that has a rich, thick mouthfeel without the need for heavy cream and unless you were told, I don’t think most people would guess that the “secret ingredient” was cauliflower. The broccoli and cheddar flavor is much stronger and of course complements each other just as it does in the full fat versions.