cauliflower potato soup

Our internet went out this weekend. There was a lot of rain and a little lightening, and boom, the towers that connect me to you went down.

It wasn’t too bad, actually. We still had electricity, and that’s what really counts. Besides, the message on our internet company’s answering machine said I would be able to resume my addictive habits by Monday afternoon at the latest. That took the sting out of the loss. With an appointed end time to my forced internet abstinence, I was no longer in purgatory.

Still, I took my laptop to church on Sunday, and after the service I sat out in the parking lot to see if there was any accessible wireless waves floating around in the air. There weren’t. On our way out of town, I kept the laptop on my knees so I could see my options. When a new server popped up with the name “getyourowndamnwifi,” I laughed till my eyes watered.

We ended up pulling into a bagel shop parking lot just long enough for me to check mail. I felt subversive, huddled in the front seat of our van full of hungry kids, the windshield wipers flapping back and forth in the pouring rain. Ten minutes of internet were all I needed, and it was all I got.

It was rainy again yesterday (there was even some snow!), so I made soup for supper. One of Ree’s latest recipes was floating around in my subconscious, and I had a bag of red potatoes on the counter and a freezer full of frozen cauliflower (and no great ideas about how to get my kids to love it), so a giant pot of potato cauliflower soup felt positively providential. Plus, the internet was back up so I was able to actually find the recipe so I could cook it.

Ree’s recipe looked ridiculously rich (no surprise there). I figured I’d tweak it as I went along. But you know what? Even though I changed the proportions, added potatoes, and fiddled with the method, I didn’t cut back on the half-and-half, butter, or sour cream at all. The soup needed that richness—who wants a watery cauliflower soup?—and the sour cream gave the soup a marvelous punchy kick.

Cauliflower Potato Soup
Adapted from Ree’s blog Pioneer Woman Cooks

The soup was a bit brothy. Next time, I’ll cut back on the liquid and/or increase the vegetables. I wrote out the recipe to take into account those changes.

2 onions, diced
4 stalks of celery, diced
1 pound carrots, chopped or in slices
2 pounds frozen cauliflower chunks (or two fresh heads, chopped)
4-8 cups potato, small cubes
1 stick butter, divided
6-8 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 cup half-and-half
6-8 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon parsley
3-4 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup sour cream

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large stockpot and add the celery and onions. Saute until tender—about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the carrots, cauliflower, and potatoes, and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes.

While the vegetables are cooking, make the white sauce. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in another pan and whisk in the flour. Whisk in the milk and bring to a gentle boil, stirring steadily. Off heat, whisk in the half-and-half. Set aside.

Increase the heat under the vegetables to medium high and add the broth. Simmer until the vegetables are tender. Add the white sauce and seasonings.

Measure the sour cream into a mixing bowl. Add a scoop of hot soup and whisk to combine. Add several more scoops and stir until smooth. Pour the sour cream-rich soup back into the pot. Taste to correct seasonings.

This same time, years previous: me and you, and the radishes (but it’s actually on blogging, and I still agree 100 percent with what I said back then—in other words, I still struggle)


  • Anonymous

    Oh my word! This soup was DELICIOUS! I only made half a recipe because it looked like so much, but I am now regretting it and wishing I had more for leftovers–it's going to be a fight at lunchtime tomorrow. I substituted veggie stock for chicken stock. Two of the three kids loved it and it is now on the list of favorites! Thanks! (and just when I made up my mind NOT to buy bulk cauliflower next fall!)

  • Anonymous

    Stick blender! My favorite kitchen tool.

    I haven't been here in a while… looks great! Hey, will you take gorgeous pictures of my food sometime? 🙂

  • Kris

    Another way to get a less brothy soup is to place several scoops of chunks and broth into the blender and puree until thick and creamy. Use this to thicken the soup instead of the white sauce. (Takes less butter that way and also can be wheat free as well, if you need to serve anyone with that particular constraint.)

    Or I often let the vegetables (everything but the cauliflower) simmer until they're very soft and falling apart – those bits of "melted" potato make such a creamy thickness. Then add the cauliflower and simmer until tender.

    Other tasty flavor additions include nutmeg (wonderful with cauliflower) or curry powder.

  • Rachelle

    My husband and I just recently moved from Niagara Falls to Toronto and we were without internet for 2 or 3 weeks. (I forget the exact amount of time now.) We'd take our little netbook, since we both have full-sized desktops and can't carry those around, to the nearest McDonalds and try to remember all the things we wanted to look up when we didn't have access to Google. It was tough; no smartphones, no internet, no TV, no connection to anyone we knew. Makes me realize just how much we rely on the internet these days.

    On another note, I'm going to have to try this soup. I love both potato soup and cauliflower soup, so this seems amazing.

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