When I was a kid, my family used to go out to eat at Bakers Square. The restaurant had a pretty diverse menu filled with good, all-American food at reasonable prices. We often ordered breakfast (served all day). We frequently ordered burgers or the beloved, but then discontinued honey-mustard chicken pita. But we always ordered the cauliflower au gratin soup when it was the soup du jour.
Now that I’m an adult, and the old Bakers Square is closed, I crave cauliflower au gratin soup. I long for a steaming bowl of creamy, cheesy soup filled with soft pieces of cauliflower and potato. *drool*
Luckily, now that I’m an adult, I can make my own version!
Here’s the recipe:
2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped
1 medium head cauliflower, roughly chopped and stems peeled
2 1/2 cups skim milk, divided
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded gouda cheese
1 14-ounce can great northern or cannellini beans, drained
Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add carrot and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add cauliflower and heat about 5 minutes.
Add 2 cups milk, water, bay leaf, salt, pepper and paprika. Stir, reduce heat to medium and simmer about 10 minutes to allow flavors to combine and cauliflower to soften.
Add cheese, stir and simmer about 5 minutes until cheese is melted and incorporated into the soup. In small bowl, combine 1/2 cup milk and flour and whisk until combined. Add milk-flour mixture to soup and simmer about 5 minutes.
Add beans, stir to combine and heat through, then puree soup using immersion blender or traditional blender (in batches).
I liked how this soup turned out. It’s reminiscent of my old restaurant favorite, but much lighter and, likely, healthier.
I think if I really wanted to replicate Bakers Square cauliflower au gratin soup, I would need to add more carrots (for color), potatoes and more salt and use a heftier milk, such as 2 percent or a blend of skim milk and heavy cream (for thickness and creaminess).
Do you have a dish from a restaurant that you crave and wish you could make in your kitchen?