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Cheddar Cheese, Cauliflower & Potato Soup

Cheddar Cheese, Cauliflower & Potato Soup

The classic potato soup refined! This recipe offers a rich creamy potato soup with a light cheddar cheese béchamel sauce with pureed cauliflower, carrots, celery and onions sautéed in butter. The celery brings a bright fresh flavor to the soup base while the carrots add a touch of sweetness. A creamy cheddar cheese such as Hoffman’s Super Sharp Cheddar adds a luxurious creamy texture. To garnish each bowl add a bit of shaved aged cheddar cheese (such as Montgomery Farm House Cheddar), chopped scallions and fresh black pepper. The perfect soup for any night!

Ingredients

Yield: 2 bowls or 4 cups

Weight

Volume

Butter 70 g 5 tablespoons
Carrots, sliced 40 g 1/4 cup
Cauliflower, sliced 130 g 1 cup
Celery, sliced 40 g 1/4 cup
Onions, diced 30 g 1/4 cup
Flour 22 g 2 tablespoons, scant
Milk 360 g 1.5 cups
Soft Cheddar Cheese 90g 3 ounces
Vegetable Stock 110 g 1/2 cup
Potatoes, cubed 250 g 1 large, pealed
Salt 1 teaspoon
Pepper 1/16 teaspoon
Garnish: chives & aged cheese

Tools Used

  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Measuring Cups. Spoons / Digital Scale
  • Stainless steel skillet
  • Stainless steel saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Spatula
  • Blender
  • Colander

Directions

  1. Prep all ingredients. Cut potatoes in 10mm cubes or strips and rinse.
  2. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil to use for step 10.
  3. Using a medium stainless steel skillet preheat on medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of butter.
  4. Once butter has melted add carrots, onions, cauliflower and celery to the skillet. Cook over low heat stirring occasionally for approximately 15 minutes. Looking for a nice even golden brown on edges of fully cooked vegetables. Do not allow any burned areas to form.
  5. In a medium pan make a roux with butter and flour by cooking over medium low heat for approximately 3 minutes. Stir continuously. The color should be a light golden color once cooked.
  6. Remove from heat continue to stir to cool the roux. Once the roux has cooled some, to avoid boiling the milk, add 1 cup of milk and stir to combine.
  7. Place back over low heat and warm the milk / roux mixture. From now on this mixture should never bubble from the heat. Slow and low heat to keep the flavors from being damaged by the heat.
  8. Once the milk is warmed add the cubed / grated cheddar cheese. Stir every minute or so until fully melted. Do not turn the heat up higher as you may burn the cheese. Allow it to slowly melt into the milk. This keeps that delicate creamy flavor intact. Should take approximately 15 minutes for the cheese to fully melt.
  9. Puree the cooked vegetables, 1/2 cups of milk and vegetable stock. Add to cheese sauce and stir until combined. If the soup base is too thick for your preference use an extra ounce or two of vegetable stock to thin it.
  10. Boil cut potatoes for approximatly 8 minutes. The texture should be al dente, or firm, but fully cooked. If they are over cooked then the potatoes will be too soft and fall apart in the soup.
  11. Add cooked potatoes to cheese / vegetable soup base. Stir just enough to submerse. Warm over very low heat for 15 minutes with lid ajar. Stir half way though just to mix and right before serving. If you stir too much you risk breaking up the potatoes. Do not allow the soup to bubble or simmer, the temperature should never get hotter than you would want to eat.
  12. Serve in a warmed bowl with chopped scallions, aged cheddar cheese and fresh black pepper as garnish.

Soup Tip

Many soup recipes call for water. Substituting a vegetable stock for the water brings an intense richness to the soup giving it that resturant taste. Why dilute the flavors with water right! As always look for a good quality stock or make your own.

In the Making

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sauteing-cauliflower-carrots-onion-celery-1
sauteing-cauliflower-carrots-onion-celery-2
The golden brown coloration adds a great deal of nutty flavor, take care not to burn as any black areas will add a burned bitter taste to the soup.

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When creating a roux over medium heat keep stirring and don’t walk away as it can quickly burn. Once the correct color is achieved to cool off the roux enough to keep it from darkening remove the pan from the heat and keep stirring until the bubbling stops. Wait about two minutes before adding the milk so the roux has cooled enough to not boil the milk. If you scorch the milk you will not get a smooth consistency. Gently warm the milk / roux mixture and stir to fully incorporate the milk into the roux. The milk should start to slowly thicken.

The cooking process of making a roux allows the flour to open the gluten strands allowing it to thicken and removes the flour taste. The darker the roux becomes the less thickening power but  the nuttier the flavor, at a golden color the roux will have very little impact on flavor and maximum thickening power.

making-cheese-sauce
Melt the cheese over low heat with continuous stir. Doing so prevents potential burning on the base of the pan and preserves the full flavor of the cheese.

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puree-sauteed-vegitables
Make sure to blend as fine as possible. I used a Breville immersion blender but any style blender will work just fine. If you want a smoother consistency press though a stainless steel mesh sieve.

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The time you need to cook the potatoes will vary depending on the size they are cut. Always test them before draining and give a quick rinsing in cool water to halt any further cooking.

add-cooked-potatoes-to-soup-base
Mix the potatoes in just enough to coat them with the soup base as over stirring breaks up the potatoes. Heating slowly over low reduces the need to stir to a minimum. Don’t allow the soup to get hotter than you would want to eat it at.

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