SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - This is a very versatile recipe for a creamy-style vegetable soup. I make it with cauliflower because I really like it, but you can use so many different vegetables with great results, such as broccoli, carrots, turnips, beets, potatoes, red bell peppers, and another one of my favorites, butternut squash!
Some similar recipes use a lot of cream or Half & Half and butter but I substitute fat free half & half or fat free milk and use olive oil and only a fraction of the butter normally used in a recipe of this kind I hope you enjoy it!
1 large head cauliflower
1 medium Vidalia onion chopped
2 ribs celery peeled, chopped
1 small leek, cleaned, trimmed and sliced thin
2 cloves garlic smashed
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp white pepper, divided
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt or sea salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
2 cups low sodium chicken stock or broth, heated*
1cups fat free half & half, heated
1/8 tsp fresh nutmeg
Chives, basil oil for garnish
Rinse and separate head of cauliflower into florets and set aside. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot to medium high and add onion, celery, leek and smashed garlic. Sauté until onions are translucent, taking cake not to brown them. Add cauliflower, 1/2 teaspoon each of the kosher/sea salt, white pepper, dry mustard and thyme and continue to cook and stir until cauliflower starts to soften (this should take about 5 to 7 minutes). Next, add thyme and chicken stock and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Cover and reduce to a low simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Uncover and add nutmeg and Half & Half and continue to cook uncovered for additional 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Turn off heat, remove 1 cup of soup mixture and set aside. Using an immersion blender (hand held), puree the remaining soup directly in the pot (be careful as it will be very hot) until the soup has reached the desired consistency. Next, return the reserved cup of soup to creamed mixture. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle chopped chives and drizzle with basil oil. Serve hot.
*Fat-free milk or fat-free sour cream can be used. For a vegan recipe: use soy milk or soy sour cream and vegetable stock.