Souper Tuesday: Thanksgiving methadone (aka Potato Cauliflower Cheese Soup)

Can you believe it’s already December?

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. Mine was nice, even if it didn’t quite go as planned. First, I woke up really, really crabby. Here it was, my favorite holiday of the year, and I was rolling my eyes at Pat, snapping at the kids and dreading making the meal. Fortunately, this was mostly cured by the early-afternoon arrival of my friend Chevon, who brought her usual sunny attitude and a surplus of alcohol.

 Mimosas + Choo Choo Soul dance party = lifted spirits.
There were some hiccups with the meal preparation, too, including a not-quite-thawed turkey breast, the world’s tartest cranberry sauce (I forget to make it until the other food was being carried to the table; in my rush, I used only a quarter of the sugar the recipe called for) and sending Chevon to Walmart at 3:00 to buy Jiffy mix for the corn casserole. (This also involved a phone call with the most defeated-sounding Walmart employee ever, who confirmed “Yes, ma’m, we’re open 24 hours a day.”)
Chev and Grandma entertaining Noah as the hours tick by.
I had told our guests that we would eat around 3:00. It was after 5:30 when we finally made it to the table. But, if I may say so myself, it was worth the wait. (Except for the wild rice dressing. I should have trusted my instincts and passed on that this year.)

By 9:30, the guests were gone and the kids were finally in bed. (I had surprised Noah by letting him stay up past his bedtime to watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. His response – “Oh, thank you so much, mom, I’ve always wanted to stay up late!” – was straight out of a 1930s Shirley Temple movie and was so sweet, it made me glad to normally be such a stickler for bedtime.)

Noah and Turtle love Snoopy and Woodstock.
Pat and I were exhausted. We crawled into bed and turned on our TV, where our antenna-only situation provides slim pickings but an occasional gem. Thanksgiving night, it was Rhoda. I’d never seen it before, but it was pretty entertaining. And I was mesmerized by the fabulous mid-’70s clothes and decor.
Whoa, Valerie Harper totally looks like my mom did in the ’70s.

The rest of the weekend flew by. And suddenly, it’s Souper Tuesday again. This week’s soup serves a dual purpose: it helps me use up some remaining potatoes, and it’s creamy enough to ease my withdrawal from the deliciously rich Thanksgiving food I ate for three straight days.

Yes, this soup is my Thanksgiving methadone.

I found the recipe on the same site as the Sweet Potato Corn Chowder. She credits it to the Moosewood Cookbook.

Potato Cauliflower Cheese Soup
2-3 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1 large cauliflower, cut or broken into florets (set aside 2 cups of florets)
1 medium carrot, chopped
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 cups water
1 (16 oz) bag shredded cheddar cheese (save a little for garnishing each serving)
3/4 c. milk
1 tsp. dill
1/2 tsp. caraway seeds
black and/or white pepper to taste (I use white but imagine it’s just an aesthetic thing?)

Place potato, cauliflower (except for 2 cups reserved) carrot, garlic cloves, onion, salt and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer until all the vegetables are tender. Puree in a blender (I use an immersion blender) and transfer back to pan. 

Steam the reserved cauliflower pieces until just tender. Add these to the puree along with the cheese, milk, dill, caraway seeds and pepper. (Keep stove on low, and add cheese slowly, stirring constantly, so it melts smoothly.)

Serve topped with a little extra cheese.