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Cauliflower Parmesan Soup

Cauliflower Parmesan Soup
This parmesan-flavoured cauliflower soup is a wonderful creamy delight to warm you up on a cold winters night. Very easy to prepare with lots of optional ingredients to alter the flavour.
Ingredients
  • 2¼ tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 leeks, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 head cauliflower (450 - 500 g), chopped
  • ⅓ cup white wine
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 slices white bread
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • finely chopped parsley and finely grated Parmesan cheese, to garnish
Instructions
  1. In a large stockpot (or Dutch oven), melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and leeks and saute, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened and the onions are translucent.
  2. Add garlic and cook for ½ minute, stirring.
  3. Add the cauliflower and saute for 5 - 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, .
  4. Add white wine and broth. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and add the bay leaf.
  5. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 20 minutes (or until the cauliflower is soft when pierced with a fork).
  6. Remove the bay leaf from soup and discard. Set aside a few cauliflower curds to put into each soup bowl.
  7. Carefully transfer the hot soup to the jug of a blender and puree. (see notes)
  8. Add ½ cup Parmesan cheese and puree until the cheese is mixed in and melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Return soup to the pot and keep warm over low heat, stirring occasionally.
To make croutons
  1. Heat the griller of your oven or toaster oven. Toast the 2 slices of bread in a toaster or toaster oven.
  2. Drizzle or brush each slice with 1 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle lightly with garlic powder.
  3. Sprinkle each slice with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese.
  4. Place bread on a baking sheet or sheet pan under the griller for 3 to 4 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbling.
  5. Remove and allow to cool slightly. Cut off the crusts and then cut bread into squares.
To serve
  1. Ladle hot soup into bowls and add a few curds of the reserved cooked cauliflower. Garnish with a few cheesy croutons, some grated Parmesan and finely chopped parsley. A fresh warm crusty bread roll goes well with this soup also.
Notes
Some blender jugs are not designed for hot liquids so check first.
Be sure to hold the lid open slightly - the heat can cause expansion inside the jug and pop the lid, or worse
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard can be stirred in at step 4 to give a little extra zing

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