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Zupas Copycat Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup

I love Cafe Zupas Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup.  It has a velvety smooth texture and a wonderfully rich flavor that my taste buds just adore.  You would NEVER guess that there is cauliflower in it!  Seriously, just tell your family it is cheese soup and they will be slurping it up like nobody's business and never know they are getting a vegetable too.

After a lot of attempts, this recipe has nailed it.  In fact, dare I say it's better?  The key ingredient that put this over the edge was the white pepper.  I have just recently been introduced to this deliciousness and I love the unique flavor it gives food.  A little goes a long way and I love that you don't get the little black specks in your lighter colored dishes that you get with regular black pepper.

2 tbsp butter or margarine
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1-3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 can (13-15 ounces) chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 head (about 2 1/2 pounds) cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tsp Dijon mustard
1-1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup pepper jack cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in the flour and let cook for a minute or two.  Slowly whisk in the milk, heavy cream, chicken broth, water and salt  Add the cauliflower and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the cauliflower is fork tender, about 10-15 minutes.  Blend up the soup in a couple of smaller batches until completely smooth.  (Make sure to remember to remove the center part of the lid to stop the blender from exploding.)

Return the soup to the saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until nice and hot.  Remove from heat and whisk in the mustard, cheeses, 1/2 tsp salt and white pepper until melted and smooth. Garnish soup with extra cheese, bacon and chives as desired.

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