If you are a cauliflower hater this brown butter cauliflower soup is for you. It’s creamy, silky, and takes no milk or cream plus it tastes like potato!
Cade and I don’t really eat cauliflower. We have nothing against it, we just don’t really buy it and eat it. I know that cauliflower rice and mashed potatoes and even cauliflower macaroni and cheese is crazy popular but when I saw this brown butter cauliflower soup on America’s Test kitchen I was completely intrigued.
Some people binge watch shows on Netflix like, Gilmore Girls, White Collar, and more but I happen to binge watch America’s Test Kitchen. I have multiple of their cookbooks and I adore their website and subscription. America’s Test Kitchen, if you don’t already know, puts all of your favorite recipes through a ridiculous amount of testing and they work out all of the weird issues like meatloaf tasting like rubber, cookies that always turn out flat and even lemon cream sauces that always separate.
I turn to them ALL. THE. TIME. for cooking help. If I cannot get a simple pasta primavera to turn out as flavorful as I want I bust open the book. So, back to my point, the kids were off at soccer and I was watching America’s Test Kitchen (on PBS and Netflix) and they were making cauliflower soup. I was 5 seconds away from skipping when I saw the random testers step on screen and all guessed that the main ingredient was cream. WRONG!! Wait, what?
I stayed on to listen as the host explained that this recipe was pure cauliflower, no cream, half and half or even milk. Then they browned butter and some cauliflower for the top and I was sold. I had to give the recipe a go. As I was making it I kept thinking, this is going to taste like cauliflower water, I don’t know if I can do it! But here’s the scoop…
*Cauliflower is cooked three different ways which adds to the depth of flavor and texture. Some of it is overcooked and some slightly under cooked so it leads to a thick and creamy soup, ending with the browned cauliflower that just tastes like a brown butter gift of deliciousness.
*Brown Butter really is the secret as it is also swirled all over the top before serving which really heightens the flavor and complexity of the dish and all you did was let butter brown in a pan.
*The butter used in making the soup with the creaminess of the puree actually ends up tasting almost like potato soup!! Even our little girls were completely sold on this!
- 1 head cauliflower (2 pounds)
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin, and washed thoroughly *see note*
- 1 small onion, halved and sliced thin
- Salt and pepper
- 5 cups water
- ½ teaspoon sherry vinegar (we used red wine vinegar)
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- Take off the outer leaves of the cauliflower and trim the bottom off of the stem. Using a paring knife, cut around core to remove it completely; thinly slice core and reserve.
- Cut a heaping 1 cup of ½-inch florets from head of cauliflower; and set aside. Cut remaining cauliflower crosswise into ½-inch thick slices.
- Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the leek, onion, and 1½ teaspoons salt; cook, stirring frequently, until leek and onion are softened but not browned, about 7 minutes.
- Increase the heat to medium-high; add 4½ cups water, sliced core, and half of sliced cauliflower; and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add remaining sliced cauliflower, return to a simmer, and continue to cook until cauliflower is tender and crumbles easily, about 15 to 20 minutes longer.
- Meanwhile, melt remaining 5 tablespoons butter in 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add reserved florets in the measuring cup and cook, stirring frequently, until florets are golden brown and butter is browned and has a slightly nutty aroma, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and use slotted spoon to transfer florets to small bowl, and reserve the browned butter in another bowl. Toss florets with vinegar and season with salt to taste.
- Process the soup in blender until smooth, about 45 seconds. Rinse out pan. Return pureed soup to pan and return to simmer over medium heat (soup should have thick, velvety texture but should be thin enough to settle with flat surface after being stirred) and seasoning with salt to taste. Serve, garnishing individual bowls with browned florets, drizzle of browned butter, and chives and seasoning with pepper to taste.
- Store remaining soup in an airtight container in the fridge or allow to cool completely and seal in a ziploc in the freezer for up to 1 month.