Cauliflower Gruyère Soup
Cauliflower is an underrated vegetable. Roasted simply with olive oil, it becomes a sophisticated and delicious side dish. In this soup, though, we give cauliflower the royal treatment, with chicken stock, cream, and nutty-tasting Gruyère cheese. A bouquet garni, the traditional French flavor bundle of herbs, infuses this recipe with an astonishing level of flavor. White pepper is a traditional seasoning for light-colored foods in French cuisine (specks of black pepper would stand out too much). Note that if the resulting soup seems too thick, you can thin it with either additional cream or plain water.
For more, check out our Celery Root Soup, Potato-Leek Soup, and Creamy Mushroom Soup with Blue Cheese Toasts.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 head cauliflower, broken into small florets
- Kosher salt* to taste
- Freshly ground white pepper to taste
- 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
- 4 cups chicken broth or stock
- Bouquet garni: 3 Italian parsley sprigs, 1 fresh tarragon sprig, 3 fresh thyme sprigs, 1 bay leaf, bundled together with butcher’s twine
- 4 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, more if needed
- 1/4 cup minced chives, for garnishing
1Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat in a large saucepan and cook the onion slowly until soft and translucent but not browned. Add the cauliflower, lightly season with salt and white pepper, and cook over a low flame for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so the mixture does not brown. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the garlic and cook for 5 more minutes, allowing the mixture to turn a light golden brown. Add the broth and bouquet garni and bring to a boil. Once the soup has come to a rolling boil, reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover, and cook for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and discard the bouquet garni.
2Using a blender, purée the soup in batches, adding some of the Gruyère to each batch. (Alternately, purée directly in the pan with an immersion blender.) Transfer the soup to a clean saucepan set over low heat (keep the soup just under the boil—if it gets too hot the cheese will curdle).
3Add the cream and taste, thinning if necessary and seasoning with additional salt and white pepper as needed. Ladle into warmed bowls and sprinkle with chives.
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