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Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Brown Butter

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Brown Butter from @loveandoliveoil

I’m not one to wax poetic about soup.

Soup is soup and often quite boring soup at that.

For me, soup is usually a vehicle for eating more bread. Creamy soups at least, I have a hard time eating a bowl without at least a few slices to dip.

But this soup… this soup is worthy of poetic praise.

Be grateful I’m not an aspiring poet, otherwise you very well might find yourself cringing amidst sappy (er, soupy?) sonnets like an episode of the Bachelor gone bad (thank god there were no poets this season is all I’m saying).

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Brown Butter from @loveandoliveoil

What makes this soup so incredible, what takes it from limerick to lyric? Three words: crispy cauliflower florets. Ok a few more: with brown butter. And a splash of vinegar. Without them this is just another boring, albeit creamy as all get out, cauliflower soup. But with that brown butter drizzle, those crispy florets with a hint of vinegar tang… this soup makes me want to sing (luckily, I’ll spare you that too).

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Brown Butter from @loveandoliveoil

While the process of making this soup might seem somewhat complicated (Note to self: don’t look at the word “cauliflower” for too long or your eyes will start to go crossed) it actually comes together quite quickly. While the soup is simmering, the remaining florets are cooked to a lush golden brown in a bath of sizzling butter. Believe me that the sheer quantity of butter called for in this recipe is absolutely required, and totally justified once you taste the final product.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Brown Butter from @loveandoliveoil

I have to give credit to friend/neighbor Michelle for enlightening me with this recipe; one look at her gorgeous bowl of creamy perfection and I knew I had to make it. And I haven’t stopped making it since. Next time I might try it with a bit of chicken broth instead of all water, just to give the soup base a bit more depth. But other than that it is perfect. Undeniably perfect. And anything but boring.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Brown Butter

Yield: 3-4 servings

Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 1 head (approx. 2 pounds) cauliflower
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon white wine or sherry vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chives, snipped

Directions:

  1. Trim the cauliflower, removing any green leaves and leaf stems. Remove stem and core; trim and slice into thin pieces.  Cut 1 1/2 cups of small florets and set aside for later. Coarsely cut the rest of cauliflower into thick slices and chunks.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter into a large saucepan set over medium low heat. Add onion, leek, and a pinch of salt and saute until softened, about 7-10 minutes.
  3. Add water and increase heat to high. Add the half the cauliflower chunks and the stem pieces; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Let simmer gently for 15 minutes, then add other remaining cauliflower chunks and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until cauliflower is crumbly and tender.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter in a pan. When butter is melted and frothy, add the reserved florets. Cook over medium heat until the florets and the butter are both browned, stirring occasionally, about 12 to 14 minutes minutes. Transfer the florets with a slotted spoon to a small bowl; toss with vinegar and coarse sea salt. Pour browned butter into a small bowl and set aside.
  5. Ladle soup into blender and puree until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return soup to the saucepan over medium-low heat until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Additionally, you may choose to add up to a 1/2 cup more of water if desired for a thinner consistency. To serve, ladle into serving bowls and garnish with florets, snipped chives, and freshly ground black pepper; drizzle with browned butter and serve.

Recipe from Cook's Illustrated via M's Belly.

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41 CommentsLeave a Comment →

  1. 1
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 4:52 am

    A haiku
    Cauliflower soup:
    Starts with plain ingredients
    Ends with taste bud dance.

    But seriously, this is what I love about cooking. Taking the most humble things and turning them into something stunning for the eyes and the taste buds. Can’t wait to try it!

    Reply

    • Posted On March 5, 2014 at 8:42 am

      This is awesome. You win today.

  2. 2
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 4:54 am

    I’ve been loving cauliflower this winter! Now THIS is a great way to jazz it up! So pretty & pinned!

    Reply

  3. 3
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 5:13 am

    Yummy! I’ve had a creamy salad made out of deep fried cauliflower and chickpeas before and oh man. Epic. Yes to this soup! 

    Reply

    • Mary
      Posted On March 11, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      need recipes like this, do you have the full recipe for creamy cauliflower salad please?

  4. 4
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 5:45 am

    Love this – cauliflower makes everything so creamy! Definitely think this is worthy of a poem or two ;)

    Reply

  5. 5
    Vickie S.
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 7:27 am

    This sounds aboslutely divine! With the different layers of flavor, I can’t wait to make it!

    Reply

  6. 6
    Sarah
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 7:40 am

    try using vegetable broth and adding a sprinkle of cumin…  and pecans are great with the brown butter part too.  :)

    Reply

  7. 7
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 7:45 am

    It looks so creamy and delicious!

    Reply

  8. 8
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 8:12 am

    A BATH of brown butter? You’ve just swept me off my feet! I agree that creamy soups need a heapin’ helping of flavor to be more than just a vehicle for bread, and this dreamy bowl is worthy of standing on its own! Though I might still need a teeeeeny bit of bread… :)

    Reply

    • Posted On March 5, 2014 at 8:42 am

      I’ll admit I kind of want to take a brown butter bath myself…

  9. 9
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 8:15 am

    I totally disagree about soup! Sure its humble but its not boring – and okay its totally a vehicle for crusty bread. 

    I’m going to give this a try with roasted cauliflower – its like me new favorite thing. 

    Reply

  10. 10
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 8:42 am

    This looks AMAZING!!!! I must make.

    Reply

  11. 11
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Thanks for the shout out!  I am still in love with this recipe.  -M

    Reply

  12. 12
    Vickie S.
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Considering I’m at work, a brown butter bath might be a bit innappropriate, but it’s a nice thought to get me through the day!

    Reply

  13. 13
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 10:38 am

    uh yum!! of course this looks utterly amazing cannot wait to try this! xx. gigi. http://www.gigikkitchen.com

    Reply

  14. 14
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 10:55 am

    This. looks. AMAZING! I love a good creamy cauliflower soup, and this one with the brown butter sounds soooo yummy!

    Reply

  15. 15
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Oh man, crispy cauliflower *and* brown butter together?! Yes. Yes, yes, yes, please

    Reply

  16. 16
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Need to try this recipe it looks delicious!

    http://chaloth.se

    Reply

  17. 17
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Soup is totally my excuse for eating more bread! But this looks good enough to eat without a hunk of baguette, and that’s saying something!

    Reply

  18. 18
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    I had the most amazing cauliflower soup at City Bakery – seems to be all the rage! I love the crispy florets on yours.

    Reply

  19. 19
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    This soup is awesome. I remember running down for tastings when we were developing it at work. And, of course, I made it at home as soon as the recipe came out. Those florets and the sherry vinegar — oh and you know, the brown butter — totally make the soup!

    Reply

  20. 20
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    I love cauliflower soup so much! This recipe looks super easy and tasty!

    Reply

  21. 21
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    I adore cauliflower, so I think that I’d love this soup! Annnnd by the way, your food photography is just unreal. Seriously beautiful pictures!!

    Reply

  22. 22
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    I recently tried cauliflower soup and I won’t lie saying that it came out horrible..gonna try your version soon!! Looks beautiful!

    Reply

  23. 23
    Posted On March 5, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    I am obsessed with all of these amazing flavors, Lindsay ! So perfect for my healthy eating intentions in 2014 :) Thank you for your ongoing inspiration and sharing it with us!!!

    Reply

  24. 24
    Posted On March 6, 2014 at 7:01 am

    This looks amazing Lindsay!  Love those crispy cauliflower florets on top–and the brown butter!  Agh, you’ve convinced me.  I need to eat this very soon. 

    Reply

  25. 25
    Lisa
    Posted On March 6, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I made this soup a few weeks ago. It’s a keeper, for sure. So simple but sooooo good!

    Reply

  26. 26
    Posted On March 6, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Brown butter makes everything better, truth! Love the pics too!

    Reply

  27. 27
    Posted On March 6, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Is cauliflower new kale? Hope it is! Love the soup!!!

    Reply

  28. 28
    Victoria
    Posted On March 6, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    I think I’ve made this 4 times in the last couple months, so delicious!

    Reply

  29. 29
    Posted On March 6, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    I have been seeing so many recipes for cauliflower soup but still haven’t tried any out. I will save and share this one to my fb page so I won’t lose it!.  It looks absolutely lovely. 

    Reply

  30. 30
    Isabel
    Posted On March 7, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Just wanted to let you know I made this today, and the vinegar + brown butter really kicks up what would be on its own a meh cauliflower puree.  I also liked the visual interest of it – and … it’s cheap! I could make this for 6-8 people for a dinner and not break the bank.  I love the photography on your blog but now I know the tastes match it too.  Congrats. 

    Reply

  31. 31
    Posted On March 8, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Oh wow – this looks fantastic! It’s still snowy and cold here in Chicago so a warm soup like this would be perfect. And has the added benefits of veggies too!

    Reply

  32. 32
    Posted On March 8, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    This soup looks completely amazing! I must try soon!

    Reply

  33. 33
    Posted On March 18, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Lovely cauliflower soup!

    Reply

  34. 34
    Wendy
    Posted On March 23, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    I made this tonight – replacing about about 1 1/2 cups of water with chicken broth and it was FABULOUS!

    Reply

  35. 35
    Posted On March 26, 2014 at 11:29 am

    This soup looks absolutely delicious! I love cauliflower, which some may find strange, but there is nothing better than vegetables…crazy, but I love them. The ingredients sound so full of flavor and rich. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  36. 36
    Posted On April 19, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    I’ve made this soup about three times since you posted it, so it’s high time I said how marvelous it is! I tend to favor rather spicy cauliflower dishes, so it’s lovely to have a recipe in my repertoire where it can shine for itself. Thank you!

    Reply

  37. 37
    Amy
    Posted On April 28, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    Honestly, I did not live this soup. It is very bland and just tastes like mush. The florets add a little bit but overall I was disappointed. My husband agreed. It needs more flavor!

    Reply

  38. 38
    Mary
    Posted On May 3, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    I used some homemade veggie broth, added some cumin, extra black pepper, a dash of nutmeg and ginger, and it was not bland at all. Actually didn’t need all the butter to make it taste great! 

    Reply

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