Cauliflower took a long time to grow on me. When I was little, my mom would make this cheesy mushroom and cauliflower dish to try to get me to eat it, but the one time she forced me to take a bite, I threw up instantly on the spot in protest! As an adult, however, I have become much more fond of cauliflower especially in roasted or soup form. This soup is inspired by an amazing soup I had as a starter in a restaurant nearby. It was wonderfully rich and creamy with a little bit of smoke from the bacon. I don't like all the "creamy" cauliflower soups out there that don't even use cream. I figure, if you have cream in the title, you'd better use it, and it adds such voluptuousness to the final product. Just put thoughts about calories out of your mind! - fiveandspice —fiveandspice
Test Kitchen Notes
Fiveandspice’s soup came out velvety smooth, full of cauliflower goodness with an underlying smokiness from the bacon fat. The recipe didn’t specify the amount of garlic so I added two minced cloves and that seemed to work out fine. It would have been delicious even without the crème fraiche, roasted florets and lardons, but they took it over the edge into sublime territory. Super soul-satisfying on a chilly night. - Midge —The Editors
bacon slab, cut into lardons
heads of cauliflower, cored and cut into small florets
Take about 1 cup of the cauliflower florets, toss them with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, spread them on a baking sheet and roast them at 425F until brown and crispy on the outside, about 3o minutes. Set aside.
In a large soup pot, fry the lardons until almost crispy, then remove them from the pot, leaving the fat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic to the fat in the pot, stir and cook for about 2 minutes until the onion begins to soften.
Then stir in the bay leaf, the potato pieces and the remaining cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5-7 minutes. Add 4 cups of the chicken stock, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 20 minutes, until the cauliflower and potatoes are soft. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the cream.
Puree the soup using a handheld blender, or in batches in a blender, until it is creamy and smooth. Return to the heat for another 5 or so minutes until heated through. At this point you can also add some more broth (or cream!) if you'd like to thin the soup a bit.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving, stir in the crème fraiche.
Divide the soup into serving bowls, top each bowl with pieces of roasted cauliflower and crispy lardons.
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.