Serves 6 as side dish.
Note: Roasting the cauliflower before adding it to the soup produces a caramelized flavor that is complemented by the light touch of curry. From “The Grilled Cheese Kitchen,” by Heidi Gibson with Nate Pollak.
• 1 large head cauliflower, cut into 2-in. chunks
• 1 tbsp. olive oil
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tbsp. salted butter
• 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 3 tbsp. flour
• 1 c. whole milk
• 1/2 c. heavy cream
• 2 c. vegetable stock
• 2 tsp. curry powder
• 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
• 5 oz. Cheddar cheese (mild, medium or sharp), shredded, plus more for garnish
• Minced fresh chives, for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
In a large bowl, combine cauliflower, olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and toss to mix well. Spread cauliflower in single layer on prepared baking sheet and bake until softened and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Let cool on the pan.
In small soup pot over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add onion and sauté until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute longer (do not let garlic burn).
Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Whisk in milk, cream and vegetable stock. Add roasted cauliflower, curry powder and cayenne pepper, and stir to combine. Raise heat to bring to low boil, then turn heat to low, cover and simmer until cauliflower is soft and easily pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes longer. Add cheese and stir until cheese is fully melted into soup. Remove from heat.
Use an immersion blender to blend the soup into a smooth purée in the pot. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, purée soup in a countertop blender, working in batches on low speed. Remove center plug from lid, cover lid with clean towel and hold down the lid while blending, or the hot soup will blow the lid off and make a mess in the kitchen.) Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper.
Ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with the chives, if using, and more cheese, and serve immediately.