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This savory soup will satisfy your cravings for something warm and cheesy on a chilly day.
Ingredients (8 serving, one cup each)
- 1 large head cauliflower (about 7 inches in diameter), broken or chopped up into roughly equal florets
- 1 medium onion (about 4 oz), chopped
- 5 cloves garlic – pressed, grated, or minced fine
- 4 cups chicken stock or broth, or 4 cups water with chicken base such as Better Than Bouillon
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- pinch cayenne or other hot pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika (optional, but adds a nice rosy color)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup half & half
- 1/2 lb low-fat cheddar cheese (white preferred)
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 tablespoon yellow or brown mustard
- In a large pot or Dutch oven (best if it holds about 3 quarts), heat the oil and cook the onion until it begins to soften, about 4 or 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook another 30 seconds or so.
- Add the cauliflower, and stir. Then add the chicken broth, herbs and spices. Cover, and bring to a simmer. Cook until the cauliflower is soft, about 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves.
- While the vegetables are cooking, grate the cheese, and toss with the cornstarch.
- When the cauliflower is soft, puree the soup with an immersion (stick) blender if you have one. If not, puree in batches in a regular stand blender, but be careful not to blend too much at a time — hot liquids can “explode” when blended, spewing hot liquid all over the place.
- Add the cream and the cheese. Stir as the cheese melts, and then add the mustard. Taste and adjust salt and spices.
- Garnish with chives and two ounces of extra protein such as Canadian bacon, chicken or fish.