Cauliflower Soup with Cheese and Prosciutto

CookbooksbfLORemember that stack o’ cookery books I got for Christmas? Well, here’s another recipe from one o’ them; this time Nadia G’s Cookin’ for Trouble.

Miss G calls this Aged Cheddar Cauliflower Soup, and uses pancetta. I had two packets of perfectly fine prosciutto in the fridge that needed something done with, so I went that route. She also called for a sliced leek, which I totally spaced out on and forgot at the market, so I used a medium onion. Her recipe is here, mine follows.

•1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
•4 oz. sliced Prosciutto
•1-3/4 cup diced onion – 1 medium
•6 cups good chicken stock
•1 cauliflower – about 8 cups
•4 cups small Yukon Gold Potatoes, diced
•1 bay leaf
ProsciuttoDrainingBetterbfLO•Salt and pepper
•3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
•2 tbsp dried chives

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot on medium, then add the prosciutto and sauté until crispy (Prosciutto can be eaten as is, so just cook it until it looks nicely done to you). Remove the prosciutto and set aside to drain.

Add the diced onion to the now prosciutto-flavored oil and sauté for 5 minutes, until soft.

CauliflowerPotatoesBayleafbfLOAdd the chicken stock, scraping up any of those tasty little crispy bits on the pan bottom.

Add the cauliflower, potatoes, and bay leaf.

Bring to the boil and simmer until the veggies are fork tender – 15 to 20 minutes.

Take the pot off the heat and remove 1 cup of the cauliflower and potatoes with a slotted spoon.

SoupReadytoWhizzbfLOUsing a hand blender, purée the remaining veggies and stock in the pot until smooth.

If you don’t have a hand blender, you could certainly use a regular blender, but transferring to and from is gonna cool your soup, so you might could want to make some allowance for that.

SoupPotProsciuttobfLOIf you don’t have a regular blender – mebbe one of those potato ricer gadgets? Same issue with heat loss, and I have no idea how well it would work. Better by far, I think, to get a nice hand blender. We picked ours up on sale last summer at Sur La Table for around $25.

However you got it there, once your soup is smooth and creamy looking, add that cup of cauliflower and potatoes back into the pot, then add the cheese, the chives (I used dried chives, so added them here, if you use fresh, save them for the end), salt, and pepper.

Return to the stove on medium-low heat and whisk until the cheese is melted. I also added a bit of the crisped prosciutto.

SoupBowlBreadbfLOTo serve; top each bowl or soup with more of that crisped prosciutto and some nice, freshly gournd black pepper, if you like. Fresh chives, if you have ’em, or even a bit of minced fresh parsley would be nice as well, and those who know me know that I would not say no to a shot of Tabasco, or better, Earl’s.

We had ours with fresh-from-the-oven (well, bread machine) sourdough rye bread and a nice pat of fine Wisconsin butter.

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