The Breukelen Life

The Breukelen Life

Food, Yoga and Travel in Brooklyn

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Ale, Cheddar and Cauliflower Soup

November 10, 2015 , , , ,


Like most other food bloggers, I am in soup mode full swing and I am not ashamed.

Since I now have plenty of time on my hands, when in the city, I’ve taken to long leisurely walks around the farmers market. It’s taken its turn towards fall with plenty of root vegetables and winter squashes. We have until after Thanksgiving until things get sparse. Let’s make use of this time shall we?

Last week’s stroll brought me to a cauliflower the size of my head. There will be plenty of time for roasting such things when the snow is a foot deep. I was in the mood to be a bit more adventurous. The leaves are falling and the life of summer is still in me. After feeling all the feelings, I was led to this recipe at the New York Times. I love Mark Bitman, lived the VB6 life for a few months before my love of a 10am chocolate snack took over, and generally find his recipes to be spot on.


I would recommend using the beer listed below and not skipping this step. I wasn’t feeling buying more beer (especially beer that I like to drink on it’s own) and used Yuengling. The soup would benefit from the headiness of the below beers!

As a general rule, I don’t add salt until the very end of cooking. I also keep my stock unsalted. I found this soup needed at least 1/2 tsp of kosher salt at the end but may need more to suit your tastes.

The below is adapted from his original due to a bacon free and cheese light household. Enjoy!

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 medium celery rib, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 large cauliflower head, cored and chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 12-ounce bottles Brooklyn Local 2, Westmalle Dubbel or another beer in the Belgian dark-abbey-ale style
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp adobe chili powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tablespoon mustard
5 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated ( can add up to 8 ounces)
1 tablespoon cornstarch (use 2 if increasing the cheese)

1. Put the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5-10 minutes.

2. Using a large sheet pan, spread out the cauliflower, toss with olive oil and broil on high for 10-15 minutes until slightly charred. Stir every 5 minutes.

3. Add the cauliflower, beer, stock, bay leaf, cayenne, paprika and adobe chili. Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles steadily; cover and cook until the cauliflower is very tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Stir in the mustard, and purée the soup with an immersion blender or semi-purée it with a potato masher. Stir in salt and additional pepper if needed.

5. Toss together the cheddar and cornstarch. Add the cheese mixture to the soup a handful at a time, stirring all the while, until it’s well incorporated and the soup is smooth. Serve hot.


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