Recipe: Cauliflower Soup and Stuffed Mushrooms
A few days ago I tried out a new soup recipe and it was fantastic. Really, so so good. So I kind of have a restaurant crush on Zupas. It’s a Utah (and one Phoenix location) chain that has soup and salad and sandwiches. I get the same thing every time I go, Wisconsin Cauliflower soup and a grilled ham and cheese panini. Since the beginning of the year I have been cutting way back on carbs and sugar, you know, that whole new years resolution thing, and we are also trying to eat at home more. But I still crave this soup a few days a week. I found this recipe, and with a few modifications it’s a pretty close replica.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup
In a heavy saucepan (at least 3 quarts) melt 2 TB butter and add 1 chopped medium onion. Cook and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes until golden brown and tender. Add 1/4 cup sifted flour and stir while cooking 2 minutes. Then add 2 cups chicken broth (or 1 14 oz-ish can) and 3.5 cups fat free half and half. Add a head of cauliflower, chopped into 1″ chunks and then bring the soup to nearly boiling before you turn it down to a simmer. Cover the pot, and simmer for about 15 minutes until the cauliflower is tender. (If you don’t have a heavy bottomed pan, you’ll probably need to stir this while the cauliflower cooks so the milk doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan. I have great pans and with the correct temperature I can cook milk without burning it. But be careful on this step, you don’t want burnt milk soup.) When the cauliflower is soft, blend it either with an immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender (what I did) until it is smooth. Return soup to the stove and bring back to a simmer, then add 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese and 1 cup shredded pepperjack. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tsp salt (to taste) and 1 good squirt (1.5 TB maybe?) of dijon (or honey dijon) mustard, and 1/2 tsp nutmeg (two good shakes). Stir soup until cheese has all melted and serve with extra shredded cheddar on top. Serves 6.
*Adding a little sugar would make it a lot closer to Zupas original soup, but I decided to skip that step and live with a close enough taste. Adapted from this recipe.
And my other favorite winter treat is Stuffed Mushrooms. Scott hates them. He doesn’t like mushrooms at all, and he really doesn’t like the way they smell when they are cooking. So I reserve my mushroom consumption for lunchtime, when he isn’t home. These make a great side or an appetizer for a party. They will disappear right before your eyes.
Brown 1 pound of Italian sausage, drain and dump on a paper towel lined plate to remove any excess grease and to let it cool. In a separate bowl combine 1 8 oz package soft cream cheese (I always use the 1/3 fat Neufatchel cheese, which is great. But don’t use the fat free version, it gives a really weird texture to the finished mushrooms) 2 cups sharp shredded cheddar, 1 bunch minced green onions (green part only). Add the cooled sausage and mix together. This is the filling, which will keep in a covered container in the fridge for about a week. Next you’ll need 1 pound to 1.5 pounds crimini/button/small brown mushrooms. I like the brown one’s because I think they have a better flavor for this dish. If they are small (1.5″ across) you’ll need more than if they are a larger 2-3″ across. Using a melon baller (available in most kitchen sections of grocery stores, walmart, target, or any kitchen specialty store) scoop out the stems and inside flesh of the mushrooms. You can chop this up and add it to your filling mixture if you like. Then use your melon baller to scoop the filling inside each mushroom. It’s the perfect tool for this job. You can bake a whole 9×13″ pan of mushrooms at a time (packed in side to side) at 450 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, until the cheese is melty and bubbly and the mushrooms have released their juice, or if you are only making a few, space them out on a foil lined rimmed sheet like you were baking cookies. If they are spread out they cook a lot faster, more like 12 minutes.
Sprinkle baked mushrooms with fresh chopped parsley. And eat them while they are still hot. (Cook them at the party if you decide to bring these as a pot luck dish or something.) I usually keep my filling in the fridge and each day for lunch make a half a dozen more mushrooms. And combined with this soup it made for a very satisfying low carb (though not exactly “diet”) lunch these past few days. And the next few. Yum.