Cauliflower Potato Leek Soup knocks our socks off. And early winter is the time to hop on a soup jag for three reasons.
One, soup can be chock-full of hearty vegetables and fewer fatty meats all of which helps to keep you in line before (and in between) all the holiday over indulging.
Two, the weather has finally cooled off here in Nashville so it’s a lot more fun and appealing to simmer a pot on the stove.
Three, soup is cheap to make so you can save up for holiday gift giving or general bill paying.
Cauliflower Potato Leek Soup is a fine example of how the combination of a few cheap and simple ingredients can come together in a surprisingly big way. If you don’t make your own soups this is a great recipe to start out with.
First, the leeks. Allegedly a favorite of the Emperor Nero, this ancient member of the onion family is packed with mild, sweet flavor and full of nutrients, so eat leeks often. Cut off the root end and use the white stalk up to the light green, but discard or compost the tougher dark green top. Rinse leeks thoroughly to remove all dirt that can sometimes be found within the layers of the stalk. They’re easy to clean if you cut them in half first. You can use an onion if you like, it’s a perfectly acceptable substitute, but the leeks bring a unique depth of flavor that makes this soup exceptional.
Before we tackle this soup, you might like to look at a couple of our other simple soups that are big on flavor and light on cost. Smothered Cabbage and Onion Soup and the classic Potato Leek Soup, this time without the added cauliflower. All benefit from a crispy crouton, with or without the cheese.
Begin with a 10 minute saute of the leeks in olive oil over medium heat. Keep an eye on them, stir them frequently, and don’t let them burn.
Now toss together the cauliflower, potato, and one cup of water and bring to a boil. Add a good pinch of salt. Then, reduce and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
An inexpensive hand-held immersion blender makes quick work smoothing out the soup. No need to get out the counter blender and deal with clean-up. Leave a few chunks intact to balance the silkiness of the soup.
These gruyere toasts are addictive so make plenty. The nutty rich gruyere is the match for the cauliflower. We prefer these simple toasts on our French Onion Soup as well.
Cheater Chef Tip: Use a light touch with the shredded Guyere. Excessive cheese can become a rubbery distraction and ruin a good soup.
Toast rounds of baguette on a baking sheet in the oven or toaster oven. Flip them over and sprinkle with shredded gruyere cheese. Toast until the cheese is melted.
Alternate cauliflower roasting tip: Roast cauliflower floret slices in a 400F oven tossed with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil to coat lightly. Stir/flip with a spatula after about 15-20 minutes. Take them out when they are a little browned and just tender. Thirty minutes should be about right. As with most things, when you smell it, it’s about done.
Cook the leeks in the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat until very soft and fragrant, about 15 to 20 minutes. Don't let them brown, just get them to turn silky soft. This simple soup is just incredible. Looks gorgeous in the bowl and tastes sublime. Super healthy as well. Go easy on the cheese.
Add the cauliflower, potato, and one cup of water. Add a good pinch of salt.
Stir. Cover the pot and simmer over medium-low heat until the vegetables are tender about 15 minutes.
Uncover and add the remaining 5 cups of water. Simmer over medium heat about 30 minutes.
Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender. Season with salt, to taste.
Add a little water, if it seems too thick.
Serve drizzled with olive oil and black pepper.
Cook the leeks in the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat until very soft and fragrant, about 15 to 20 minutes. Don't let them brown, just get them to turn silky soft.
This simple soup is just incredible. Looks gorgeous in the bowl and tastes sublime. Super healthy as well. Go easy on the cheese.