Double Cheddar Cauliflower Soup

Autumn is in the air and the cooler weather means "Soup's on" at our house. A head of Cheddar cauliflower and extra sharp Tillamook Cheddar Cheese give this soup it's lovely golden color. I made a big pot a few days ago and I have been enjoying the leftovers for lunch.

Double Cheddar Cauliflower Soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (it will be pureed later)
1 medium head cheddar cauliflower, cut into florets, about 1 pound (white cauliflower works fine too)
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
4 ounces extra sharp Tillamook cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (start with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and work up from there)

Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Add the chopped onion and cook until nearly transparent. Add the chicken broth and the cauliflower. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

Puree the soup. I like to use my hand blender right in the pot. You can also puree the soup in batches in a regular blender. If you use a food processor, you will need to strain out the vegetables and puree them with just a bit of the broth to get a smooth consistency and then add in the remaining liquid. Return the mixture to the pot.

Stir in the milk, cheese and nutmeg and whisk over low heat until the cheese is melted and the soup is smooth and heated through. Do not let it boil or the cheese may separate. Add some freshly ground pepper and salt to taste. Start with 1/2 teaspoon salt and work up from there. It will depend somewhat on how much sodium was in the chicken broth.

Serve in warm bowls garnished with freshly snipped chives, if desired. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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