Cauliflower, Cheddar and Jalapeno Soup

The unsettling, warm, gray rain continues to come straight down as our ground turns from fluffy white to matted green and the snow disappears amidst the wet onslaught.  Days like this require something robust, creamy and comforting.  The little people in our life have decided that rainy days always call for “Cheesey Soup,” as it’s been dubbed.  For whatever reason, they don’t seem to mind the jalapeno much, surprising given that there is little tolerance for any sort of pepper in our lives.  If I were making this soup for an adult crowd, I’d be tempted to use the jalapeno seeds too as it all gets pureed at the end and that would eliminate anyone getting one, mighty burst of heat.

This soup is great with ale or another full flavored beer.  It can easily be divided in half to serve fewer people.  Click the title for a pdf of the recipe.

Cauliflower, Cheddar and Jalapeno Soup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic, 2-3 cloves
2 cups diced onions
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (for more heat retain the seeds)
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups cauliflower, cut into small florets (about one head)
1/3 cup flour
4 cups low-salt chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you prefer)
2 cups milk
2 cups grated cheddar cheese, lightly packed

Heat a medium-sized stockpot over medium-high heat and add the oil, add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds to one minute.   Add the onions, jalapeno, salt and pepper and sauté until the onions are translucent.  Add the cauliflower and sauté for another 10 minutes or until tender.    Add the flour and stir until completely incorporated and then add the stock, stirring vigorously until the flour is dissolved.  Add the milk.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat, add the cheddar cheese and stir until fully melted.  Do not bring the heat up high once the cheese has been added.  Serve as is, or for a finer look, puree the soup until it is smooth.  To reheat, allow time for the soup to come to temperature over low to medium heat.  This will insure that the cheese in the soup doesn’t break.  Serve with salad and crusty bread to pass.

Serves 4-6

Happy to be on shore and inside today!

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