As when making any resolution or goal it’s not uncommon, after a little while to find yourself bumping up against obstacles. You know, one moment it’s smooth sailing and the next you hit the kind of road block that makes you want to give up or revert to your old ways. It usually comes just after that point where you start getting cocky, when you’re thinking your resolution is easy and wondering why other people don’t attempt it.
That was where I was at a little over a week ago with my winter resolution. To recap, I had resolved to make the most out of winter, to not suffer through it, but to actually enjoy it. Things had been going well. And then Snowstorm 2011 hit Chicago. Twenty plus inches of snow later I found myself questioning my resolution.
Lucky for me one of my good friends had planned a soup party that happened to coincide perfectly with the blizzard’s end. An afternoon with a Dutch Oven and some raw ingredients was all I needed to make the most of a blustery weekend. (That we got together to share our soups with copious amounts of wine certainly didn’t hurt either.
The fruits of my labor resulted in a large pot of Cauliflower, Potato, and Cheese Soup. With its hearty mixture of cauliflower, potato, and cheese it has the stick to your ribs quality that is sure to warm you up from the inside. I particularly loved how it had the ability to be indulgent without overdoing it. To make mine even more of a treat I topped it with some homemade bacon I crisped in a skillet along with some chopped chives, but you could just as easily skip the bacon for a meatless meal.
Adapted from The New England Soup Factory Cookbook
Yields 8 to 10 servings
-2 tablespoons unsalted butter
-2 minced garlic cloves
-3 cups diced onions
-1 cup diced celery
-2 heads cauliflower, separated into florets
-3 Yukon gold potatoes, diced
-10 cups vegetable broth (chicken stock would also work well here too though I chose vegetable broth to make it a vegetarian soup for those who enjoyed it without the bacon garnish)
-4 cups shredded white sharp cheddar cheese
-2 cups half and half
-1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-1 teaspoon dry mustard
-3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
-6 dashes Tabasco sauce
-Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
-Cooked bacon, crumbled, for garnish, if desired
In stockpot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onions, celery, cauliflower and potatoes. Sauté for 10 minutes.
Add enough broth to cover the vegetables and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are tender, 30-35 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add cheese, half and half, nutmeg, mustard, Worcestershire, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Puree the soup in the pot using a hand blender or working in batches with a regular blender until smooth. If desired, crumble bacon over the top.
What about you? Did you make a New Years Resolution or two this year, and if so, what have you done to stay strong?