Happy October! It FINALLY feels like fall here. Overnight it seems (not it seems, really), we went from 90 degree days, which was so dumb, to chilly nights in the 50’s and no hint of a temperature above 80 for the foreseeable future. I know to some of you that sounds like summer, but here we’re like IT’S COLD GET A JACKET. Beck still only wants to wear sundresses (she now has opinions and wants to choose her own clothes which is generally something wedding-appropriate), so leggings and cardigans have made her look kind of like a crazy artist for the last few days.
Also, my front porch looks basic af. I love it.
So! To celebrate the season we have this soup. It’s almost entirely made of cauliflower, which makes it light, low carb, and vaguely good for you. Bacon, garlic, and Gruyere add the best umami and nuttiness, and we blend the soup so it’s practically velvety on your tongue. Plus, it’s topped with ROASTED cauliflower for texture and flavor. Definitely omit the bacon and use veggie stock for a vegetarian option – it’s delicious that way too.
Do you serve soups at your Thanksgiving meals? If so, this is definitely for you. We do not because we do appetizers and drinks before our big meal, but I think this would be so wonderful for Thanksgiving AND you can make it way in advance and stir in the cream right before serving.
You need! Cauliflower, a whole head of it. Just take the stem off and cut it into large chunks, we’ll separate it into the part that gets roasted and the part that goes into the soup. Then it’s onion, garlic, bacon, thyme, chicken stock, cream, and Gruyere. Not a ton of ingredients, but they all do so much for the flavor of the soup.
First, preheat the oven to 400F to roast the cauliflower for topping the soup. Take a few large chunks of the cauliflower and break them into smaller pieces. Arrange them on a baking sheet with salt and olive oil and roast the cauliflower for 20-25 minutes until the cauliflower is dark at the edges.
While the cauliflower is roasting, make the rest of the soup.
In a soup pot, add the bacon and turn the heat to medium-high.
Let the bacon cook and crisp for 5-10 minutes (depending on your pot and stove), then remove it to paper towels to drain while you make the rest of the soup.
Turn the heat on the stove to medium, and add the onions. Stir the onions for about a minute, then add the garlic and stir it into the bacon drippings for one minute more, then add the stock to the pot. Keep stirring to release any bacon bits and dark spots from the bottom of the pot, then add the cauliflower to the pot with the thyme.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and let the cauliflower steam and cook for 30 minutes, maybe longer, until very tender and falling apart. There should be some liquid at the bottom of the pot but not a ton, and the cauliflower should be super soft, even the stems.
When the cauliflower is cooked, add everything from the pot to a blender.
Blend the soup on high for a minute or two until it’s totally smooth, then return it to the pot over low heat.
Now, the soup can be finished now, or you can let it sit and add the cream right before you serve. When you’re ready to finish the soup, stir in the cream and half of the cheese. Taste the soup for seasoning and add salt and pepper to your taste – I added maybe half a teaspoon but didn’t need a ton because the bacon drippings and stock added flavor and salt to the soup.
I mean. This is a picture that is almost totally gray and it looks wonderfully inviting all the same.
BUT PLEASE don’t skip on the toppings: roasted cauliflower, bacon, extra Gruyere. The textures added to the super creamy soup are SO good, and some kind of bread for dunking is perfect for cozy fall days and nights.
Cauliflower is so mild that it takes on the flavor of whatever you put it with, and blending it up is a great way to get lots of veggies into something without having textural issues for people that aren’t super into cauliflower on its own. This is everything I want in a soup, and everything I want for fall. This makes enough for 4 servings or so, but making a double batch on a weekend would leave enough for lunches throughout the week.
Try it soon, and enjoy!
- 1 head cauliflower, stem and leaves removed
- 4 strips bacon, chopped
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 ounces gruyere cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- olive oil and salt
- chives or other herbs + bread for serving, optional
Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut or break the cauliflower into large chunks, then break one or two chunks into bite-sized florets (about a cup total). Spread the florets on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast the cauliflower for 20-25 minutes until dark at the edges and soft.
Meanwhile, make the soup. In a soup pot, add the bacon pieces and turn the heat to medium-high. Cook the bacon until crispy, stirring as you go, for 7 minutes or so until the bacon is crisp. Remove it to a paper towel to drain, leaving the drippings in the pot.
Reduce the heat on the pot to medium, and add the onion. Stir for one minute, scraping the bottom of the soup pot, then add the garlic and stir for one minute more. Add the stock and stir for another minute, then add the remaining cauliflower chunks and the thyme.
Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook the soup for 30 minutes or as long as necessary for the cauliflower to be very well cooked, almost falling apart.
When the cauliflower is cooked through in the soup pot, transfer the entire mixture to a blender. Blend until very smooth, then return the soup to the pot. Stir in half of the cheese and all of the cream, then taste the soup and add salt and pepper to your preference.
Serve the soup topped with bacon, the roasted cauliflower, and the rest of the grated cheese. Sprinkle with herbs if you'd like and serve with bread for dipping.
Vegetarian if you omit the bacon and use vegetable stock.