Fall is now upon us. As the temperature drops and days become shorter, what better than a warm soup to comfort you and your family? Both cauliflower and leeks are versatile vegetables that are in season during the fall and give this soup not only a velvety texture but great flavor. This recipe uses pancetta and chicken stock, but this soup can be turned into a vegetarian soup simply by replacing with vegetable stock and axing the meat. Snuggle up on the couch or by the fire with a bowl of this satisfying soup that you will definitely make again before all the leaves fall off the trees.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 slices pancetta or bacon finely diced
- 1 leek, washed and dried, thinly sliced
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 small cauliflower chopped into bite-size pieces
- 2 russet potatoes diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 3/4 cup aged cheddar cheese
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Fresh chives, minced
In a pot, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced pancetta to the pot and sauté until crispy. Remove the cooked pancetta from the pot using a slotted spoon and set it aside. Do not discard the oil.
In the pancetta oil, sauté the leeks until soft---this will take about 10-15 minutes. Deglaze the pot with the chicken stock. Add the cauliflower, potatoes and bay leaf to the stock and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the veggies are fork-tender. Remove the pot from the heat. Remove about one cup of cauliflower florets and potatoes and set them aside.
Puree the soup using a hand blender or pour all the contents in to a blender, and then put the cauliflower and potatoes pieces back into the pot. Add the aged Cheddar cheese, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Turn the heat down to medium-low and whisk until the cheese is melted. Reserve some cheese to top the soup with.
Serve the soup topped with crispy pancetta, cheese and fresh chives. Also, try eating with crusty bread. You will want to get every last drop!
Samantha Davis is the owner of Savor by Sam Catering. Her Jamaican background, world travels and training in NYC have cultivated her appreciation for food of the world and she loves mixing them all together to create the perfect meal.