Roasted Cauliflower Brie Soup

There is little in this world I love more than cheese. It is the singular reason I will never become vegan. I could give up every other animal product in the world, but I need Cabot to survive. If you were to come into my apartment right now and look in my fridge, you’d see block after half-eaten block of cheddar cheese, in various stages of consumption. I’m positive that I go through cheese withdrawal if I don’t eat it at least once a day.

My love of richer cheese surprised my parents. There is a famous story that my mother loves to tell: When I was six, my parents and I took a trip to Washington, D.C. to visit one of her sisters, my Aunt Kim; she lived near Capital Hill at the time. Near Union Station, my parents found a small restaurant, and they ordered baked brie with roasted garlic and toast. I still vividly remember it being a very warm April day, 1991, partly cloudy, cherry blossoms blooming, dining al fresco. I remember devouring toast after toast, loaded with Brie and garlic. Years later, my parents recounted their side of the story to me: They ordered the baked Brie because they thought I would hate it, and to their surprise and odd disappointment, I loved it! The disappointment developed because they didn’t get to eat as much of it as they would have liked to.

Sorry, Mama and Papa. When you expected my childhood food finickiness to work to your advantage, I pulled a 180 on ya.

Brie French cheese

In the past few years, I’ve come across Brie and other soft cheese at regular intervals. I used to enjoy it simple baked and smeared on a cracker. Lately, I’ve learned to incorporate it into my cooking; puff pastry filled with cinnamon-roasted apples and Brie is a particular favorite of mine. (Said recipe may come at a later juncture…) I’ve come across it incorporated into grilled cheese sandwiches and burgers at many French-influenced restaurants around Manhattan. With such a buttery texture and pungent (enough) flavor, I thought it may pair well with a cream-based soup.

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Well, lo and behold. Who knew roasted cauliflower and Brie would marry so happily inside of a soup bowl?

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Well, my intuition did.

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She’s pretty on the ball, I must say…

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Roasted Cauliflower Brie Soup
(Serves 4 – 6)

Ingredients:

– 1 head of cauliflower (roughly 8 cups), chopped
– 1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
– 2 cups whole milk
– 1/4 cup heavy cream
– 3 cups vegetable broth
– 1 cup water
– 6 ounces Brie, rind removed and diced
– 6 cloves garlic, in tact and with skin on
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme, finely minced
– Salt and pepper, to taste

Before We Get Started…

– To ensure even roasting, spread cauliflower across multiple baking sheets if one singular baking sheet is not large enough.

– If using a standing blender to blend the soup, do it in small batches; blending hot soup in large quantities can lead to an overflow and possible injury. (Or, at the very least, you might inadvertantly paint your walls with some delicious soup.)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 400°F.

2.) In a large bowl, combine cauliflower, olive oil, thyme, and garlic powder. Toss until cauliflower is coated. Spread cauliflower in an even layer across baking sheet(s). Cut the ends off of garlic cloves, drizzle in olive oil, and place on baking sheet. Roast cauliflower and garlic for 25 – 30 minutes, making sure cauliflower is turning light brown in spots but is not entirely roasted through.

3.) In a four quart saucepan, add vegetable broth, water, and chopped onion. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove onion and discard.

4.) Remove skins from garlic and squeeze roasted garlic onto roasted cauliflower. Add cauliflower, garlic, and bay leaf to saucepan. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Remove bay leaf and discard.

5.) Blend soup using either an immersion blender in the sauce pan, or blend in batches using a standing blender. (See note in Before We Get Started… regarding blending hot soup in a standing blender.) If using a standing blender, return soup to the sauce pan when finished.

6.) Return soup to a simmer. Add milk, cream, and Brie and stir until combined and Brie has melted and thoroughly combined with the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste.

7.) Remove soup from heat and serve immediately, topping with thyme leaves, if desired. If storing leftover soup in the refrigerator or freezer, allow soup to come to room temperature before storing in containers.

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