Friday, January 18, 2013

Creamy cauliflower and potato soup

Adapted from a recipe in this months Cooking Light magazine, Creamy Cauliflower and Potato soup has creatively replaced some of the potatoes and cream found in the tradition baked potato soup with cauliflower, rich broth, garlic, and fresh thyme. When puréed together it creates a wonderfully thick and creamy soup perfect for any cold winters evening.

When doing my recipe research for this week, I came across this soup and thought it was genius. It took the now famous low carb swap out for mashed potatoes (mashed cauliflower) and applied it to a traditionally high calorie soup.

It was family approved - the baby was screeching for more! I hope you all enjoy! Happy Cooking!

Creamy Cauliflower and Potato Soup
For the base of the soup:
1 T olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 T fresh thyme, chopped
1 pound of baking potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 2 medium sized - I used my kitchen scale to weight the potatoes)
1 pound of yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 3 medium to small)
5 cups of chicken stock
1 bay leaf

For the cauliflower:
cooking spray
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 T olive oil
salt & pepper

other additions:
1 1/2 cups of 2% milk
1/2 cup light sour cream
salt & pepper
3/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 slices of center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled (which I was too lazy to make - a definite addition for next time.  Who doesn't love bacon???)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Heat a large Dutch oven over medium -high heat.  Add 1 T olive oil and swirl to coat the pan.  Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 min.  Then add the garlic and thyme, allowing them to sweat with the onion for about 1-2 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.  Then add the potatoes, stock, bay leaf, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat.  Simmer for about 35 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Be sure to stir occasionally. 

Here's what it looks like before you bring it to a boil. 
While the potatoes are simmering away, get the cauliflower in the oven to roast.  Spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray.  Toss the cauliflower florets with 1 T olive oil, 1/4 tsp of salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Cook at 450 for 30 minutes or until browned, turning once after 15 min. 

At this point, both the cauliflower and potatoes should be done.  Remove the bay leaf from the pot, turn off the heat, add the cauliflower, and get ready to blend.  This is what creates the creamy and thick consistency.  I used my immersion blender - super simple!  But if you don't have one, you can use your blender.  Just do it in batches and be sure not to fill your blender more than 1/2 full.  Hot things expand in your blender and I don't want you to have an explosion and burn yourself.  You can blend everything, or leave it a little chunky.  Its totally up to you.

Just before I'm about to blend.
After blending to the consistency you would like, add the milk and light sour cream.  Stir until combined and sour cream has melted.  You may need to use a whisk to help incorporate the sour cream.  Add more salt and pepper to taste (I used another 1/4 tsp of each).  Now its time to serve!  Top with cheese, green onions, and bacon.  Yummy!!!  The original recipe serves 8 and has 223 calories per serving - the only things I really changed was the amount of cauliflower, and I substituted light sour cream instead of fromage blanc.  I have more cauliflower in this soup than originally called for.   It was so good, very flavorful and didn't taste "light" at all.  I would post a link to the recipe, but Cooking Light hasn't posted it on their site yet.  You'll have to go get the magazine (and I swear I wasn't paid to say that).

I served my soup with a buffalo chicken salad (using the crockpot buffalo chicken previously posted) and a low-calorie ranch dressing made with greek yogurt.  Any salad with a protein would work here.  Enjoy!!!

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