November 7, 2011
It’s not what you think! Despite the sound of it, this recipe is not crazy decadent. Luxurious, definitely. But, as things with bacon and blue cheese go, it’s relatively abstemious. Don’t believe me? Here’s proof:
This recipe serves 4-6 and calls for the fat rendered from only 2 strips of bacon, 1/3 cup of blue cheese and an optional 1/3 cup of sour cream (low or fat free will do). Not that bad, right?
The key to this soup is making the most of blue cheese and bacon’s big flavors. When it comes to lusty ingredients like these, just a little peck ignites big romance. And that’s just what this soup is: warm, sensual, fall food perfect for cozying up with a loved one.
Whoa—hello family focus! What can I say? My kids loved this and I’m sure yours will, too, but maybe you should make this soup when you plan on feeding them separately so that mama and papa can have a quiet dinner alone. Or (the opposite of sexy?), this would make a great starter for a small holiday dinner party.
This is great with a crusty baguette and big salad with added protein (sliced steak would be perfect). I served it to the hungry boys along side turkey, smoked cheddar and cranberry sauce paninis.
If folks in your family are not into blue cheese, try smoked or regular extra sharp cheddar. You can also make this vegetarian by substituting 2 tablespoons of olive oil for the bacon fat and toasted hazelnuts for crumbled bacon on top. These adjustments will change the flavor, but the soup will still be delicious. And just a seductive.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Bacon and Blue Cheese
(can be shared with kids 6+ mos)*
2 strips bacon
1 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a large onion)
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
1 head cauliflower, cleaned and chopped, core included
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 bay leaf
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups milk (whole, 2 percent or skim; I prefer 2 percent)
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/3 cup sour cream, optional (full or low fat; I prefer low fat)
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil, optional (for garnish)
Chopped chives, optional (for garnish)
1. Cook bacon in a large stockpot over medium heat. When crisp, remove the strips of bacon onto a paper towel lined plate; set aside.
2. Add onion, carrot and celery to the stockpot and cook in rendered bacon fat until vegetables are soft and fragrant and onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add chopped cauliflower, thyme and bay leave and stir to coat well with bacon fat. Cook for 1 minute.
3. Add broth and milk. Bring to a medium simmer, cover and cook until cauliflower is very tender, about 20 minutes. (Cooking time doesn’t have to be exact, just be sure to keep the broth from coming to a full boil.)
4. Once cauliflower is tender, take the soup off of the heat. Stir in the blue cheese until it melts. Transfer soup, in batches if necessary, to a blender or use a hand blender to puree soup until smooth.
5. If using a stand blender, return soup to pot. Stir in sour cream and season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside. Using your fingers, crumble bacon. Serve soup warm, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and garnished with crumbled bacon and chives.
*Note: There is nothing in this soup that is unsafe for very beginner eaters as long as you use pasteurized cheese. Also, if you’d prefer to hold off on introducing animal fat until your child is older, see my notes above for adapting this into a vegetarian recipe.