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cauliflower soupIf you went by what is on the shelves of American grocery stores you would think that the only cream based soups that Americans eat come in a can and are limited to five flavors: potato, broccoli, mushroom, celery & chicken. Clam chowder has its own place in American cookery. There are vegetable soups available on the shelf as well; sweet potato, corn chowder, tomato, squash and a mushroom (not a veggie, I know) that is just plain old soup. I have some experience with those. There was a red pepper soup that was to die for but I think I was the only one who liked it. Or bought it. Whatever. When I look at everything on the shelf I begin to think that Americans have to have meat in everything as if everything is a meal in and of itself.

Soup has always been meant to be an accompaniment to a meal and thus, is not supposed to fill you as if you were eating a complete meal. I don’t know when we forgot that. In the passel of magazines I got for my birthday, it would seem that Germans, among many Europeans, haven’t forgotten that soup is part of a meal. And they haven’t forgotten the flavor, which sadly, one can also accuse Americans of forgetting when it comes to soups. Chilies, Americans do chilies… just not a lot of soups. And sometimes I think we think that they are the same things.

In flipping through the pages of these magazines, it occurs to me that Germans will make a soup out of anything, especially in the Winter. I saw soups for brusselsprouts (rosenkohl), cabbage (grünkohl), parsnips (pastinaken) and some sweet potato varieties that I’ve never thought of trying. One of the recipes for a cauliflower soup was particularly inspiring.

I had to go with what was on hand so it isn’t the recipe in the magazine.

cauli collage


  • 1 head cauliflower, trimmed. Reserve fleurettes for the final cooking stage. Thinly chop the trunks.
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1-2 shallots, thin sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • beef stock
  • marjoram
  • black pepper
  • Thyme
  • ¼ Cup heavy cream or half and half
  • ¼ Cup shredded swiss cheese
  • Parsley for garnish

Cook to shallots, garlic, celery and thick woody pieces of the cauliflower head in the stock on medium. When the stems are tender remove to a food processor (I use a Vitamix) with some of the broth. Whiz until creamy then return to the pan. It should be nicely thickened.

Reduce heat to a low simmer. Before serving add the cream and shredded cheese, stirring until fully incorporated

Add the fleurettes, seasonings and cook until the little flowers are tender. Garnish and serve.

cauliflower soup