Cauliflower and Gouda Soup

Cauliflower and cheese pair well for a great winter soup, providing plenty of richness and warmth. Often times, it's made with cheddar, but we opted to use gouda for a nice, toasty flavor. Depending on what's available at the market, you can use either fresh or frozen cauliflower. Serve with a salad and a slice of crusty French bread for a complete meal.

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 6 cups cauliflower florets
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Salt and ground white pepper to taste
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups grated gouda
  • 1 teaspoon mustard (Dijon-style or English)
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped coarsley
  • 2 to 3 thin slices of prosciutto, julienned

Roughly chop the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and combine with the cauliflower, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and salt and pepper in a large soup pot. Cook over medium heat until vegetables start to soften and onions become translucent, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the bay leaf and chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf and purée the soup until smooth with a hand-held immersion blender, or a conventional blender (see tip below).

Just prior to serving the soup, stir in the gouda, mustard, half-and-half and butter. Taste and season with salt and pepper again if needed. Continue cooking until the cheese has melted and the soup is smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.

In a small pan, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat and quickly fry the rosemary and prosciutto until crispy and aromatic.

Divide soup into bowls and garnish with the rosemary and prosciutto.

Makes 4 servings

Recipe Notes:
You can easily substitute bacon or pancetta for the prosciutto, as well as cheddar in place of the gouda, if you prefer. If you want a richer, thicker soup, feel free to add more grated gouda. As is, the soup is on the light side.

Cooking Tip:
When using a conventional blender to purée hot soup, allow the soup to cool a little first and work in batches, never filling the blender much beyond the halfway mark.