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Now, talk about your "cream of" soups -- this one looks like a bowl of cream, and it's just slightly less rich. Mellow and understated, yet with the distinctive tang of sharp cheddar, this soup is wonderful as the first course to a winter dinner, or alone (with bread, of course) for lunch. And what are those golden crumbles on top, you ask? Grated cheddar cheese, spread on a greased piece of parchment and baked in a 425°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. The result — crisp, golden cheese crumbs — is a perfect garnish for all kinds of soup and vegetables.
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) butter
1 medium-to-large yellow onion (about 8 ounces), diced (about 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3 cups (24 ounces) chicken broth
1 pound cauliflower florets, fresh or frozen
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/4 cup (2 ounces) sherry or white wine (optional)
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) evaporated milk or light cream
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded*
*Try to use the sharpest cheddar you can find; the flavor of a mild cheddar will get lost.
In a deep, fairly wide-bottomed saucepan, cook the onion in the butter till it's softened and is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, then the broth, cauliflower, salt, mustard and sherry or wine. Let the soup simmer for 15 minutes, or till the cauliflower is very soft.
Puree the mixture using a hand blender, or in a blender or food processor. Return the soup to the pot, and stir in the evaporated milk or cream and the cheese. Bring the soup to a bare simmer, and cook very gently just till the cheese melts, stirring all the while; this will only take a minute or so. Serve the soup hot, garnished with fresh or dried chives, if desired. Yield: 7 cups, about 5 servings.
Nutrition information per serving (about 1 1/3 cups, 281g): 399 cal, 27g fat, 21g protein, 19g complex carbohydrates, 3g dietary fiber, 79mg cholesterol, 1068mg sodium, 722mg potassium, 319RE vitamin A, 45mg vitamin C, 1mg iron, 561mg calcium, 468mg phosphorus.
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XIII, No. 2, Winter 2002 issue.