If you love Food Network as much as I do, then you probably know about the show “Chopped“. Today I’m super excited to be participating Food Network’s Chopped At Home Challenge, creating a comfort dish with secret “basket” ingredients. Come join me and enter the Chopped At Home contest!
Food Network’s Chopped At Home Challenge
Ready to compete like a Chopped Champion? Here’s your chance to enter the competition! In the Chopped at Home Challenge, there will be three rounds of online competition each followed by a voting period. There will be 4 finalist spots for contestants to win by entering a recipe using mystery basket ingredients.
In addition to going to NYC to face off in the Chopped kitchen at Food Network headquarters, four finalists will each win $5,000. And, to top it all off, the final winner will receive $10,000, just like a real Chopped champion!
Round 1: Comfort Food
Round 1 theme is comfort food. What’s your favorite comfort food? For me, comfort food means a savory soup that warms up my heart and soul, especially in winter time. Now check out the required ingredient and the secret “basket” ingredients for Round 1 below.
Required Ingredient: Sargento® Sharp Cheddar Fine Cut
Secret Basket Ingredients: cauliflower, cremini mushrooms, and leeks.
Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup
For the first Chopped At Home Challenge, I made this delicious and rich Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup with my favorite roasted cauliflower.
Growing up in Japan, I had rarely eaten any “roasted” food because Japanese cooking involves mostly cooking on the stove-top.
Since I came to the U.S., I fell in love with roasting vegetables, and cauliflower is of my top favorite ingredients for roasting. Roasted vegetables adds a whole array of new flavor profiles and you can definitely use other vegetables of your choice as well.
Making Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup
This delicious vegetarian soup is very easy to make, but don’t let the simple ingredient deceive you. It has so many wonderful essence from the roasted cauliflower, and the leek and crimini mushrooms add to it with their umami flavors. All the ingredients blends really well together and I added Sargento’s shredded sharp cheddar cheese in the end to add a kick to the dish. I like using Sargento’s cheese because they are cut from blocks of 100% real, natural cheese.
Fun Fact: If you are wondering what crimini mushrooms are, they are basically the older version of the white mushrooms. As these mushroom mature even more, they become portabella mushrooms, so crimini mushroom are also called baby bella.
My family absolutely loved this soup and surprisingly my children asked for refills even though it’s all vegetables. I hope you will enjoy this soup as much as my family does.
Are you ready to enter the Chopped Challenge?
Awesome! Please join the challenge with me by clicking here and read more details. Entry is open now till February 29th, 2016.
I hope you will enjoy making this Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup recipe! If you try it, don’t forget to share your picture on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with #JustOneCookbook. Thank you so much for reading, and till next time!
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- 1 large head cauliflower
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil, for roasting
- 2 tsp. kosher salt, for roasting
- Freshly ground black pepper, for roasting
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts only
- 5 cremini mushrooms
- 2 Tbsp. butter (I use unsalted)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- A pinch of kosher salt, for sautéing leeks
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk (I use whole milk)
- 3 cups vegetable broth (you can substitute with chicken broth)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ to 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Chives for garnish (optional)
- A dash of olive oil for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Cut the cauliflower into florets and place them on a large baking sheet.
- Drizzle with olive oil (2 Tbsp.) and sprinkle kosher salt (2 tsp.) and freshly ground black pepper.
- Toss so that the florets are lightly coated with oil. Spread the florets out into a single layer on the baking sheet. Place the cauliflower in the oven, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes, or until the top is lightly golden brown.
- When the cauliflower is done roasting, set aside.
- While cauliflower is in the oven, cut a quarter inch off the bottom of the leeks, removing the roots completely and then slice the leeks in half lengthwise.
- Rinse each half under running water. Use your fingers to flex the leek and rinse any dirt or sand that may be clinging between the layers while still keeping the layers relatively intact. Line up the halves and cut into ½ inch (1.3 cm) pieces.
- Clean the cremini mushrooms with a slightly damp paper towel or kitchen cloth to remove any dirt. Remember mushrooms absorb water like sponges, and they won't brown nicely when cooked if they absorb too much water. If you have to clean A LOT of mushrooms, quickly rinse with running water and pat dry with paper towel. NEVER soak the mushrooms in water.
- In a large pot (I use a Dutch oven), heat 2 Tbsp. butter on medium heat. Crush 2 cloves garlic (or add 2 cloves minced garlic) into the pot. Tear a bay leaf in half (for more aroma & flavor) and add to the pot.
- Once the ingredients become fragrant, add the chopped leaks and a pinch of kosher salt and sauté until tender. The salt will help the leeks become tender faster.
- Once the leeks are tender, add the cremini mushrooms and fresh thyme. Pinch the stem near the top with the fingers of one hand. Pinch down the length of the stem with the fingers of the other hand from top to bottom and the leaves should break off where they meet the stem.
- When the mushrooms are tender, add 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour. Continuously stir the bottom of the pan so that the flour doesn't burn.
- When you don't see any bits of flour, gradually add 2 cups milk while stirring the bottom of the pan. Then add 3 cups vegetable broth.
- Add the roasted cauliflower and bring to a low simmer, NEVER a full boil. Once the soup reached to a low simmer, cover and simmer for 20 minutes (once again, don't let it boil!). Note: when you add milk to the soup, you don't want to boil the soup; otherwise the milk will curdle. Using full fat milk helps prevent curdling.
- Turn off the heat and remove bay leaf. Puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency with an immersion blender (or you can transfer to a blender). If you use a regular blender, fill it no more than half way with the soup (do in batches). Place the lid on the blender and cover the hole with a towel. Start blending and slowly lift up the towel to let some of the steam escape.
- Add ½ to 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Taste the soup and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to your taste. If you need to reheat the soup, bring the soup to a low simmer on medium low heat, not a full boil. Serve and top with chopped chives and a dash of olive oil. Enjoy!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sargento. The opinions and text are all mine.