For the soup:
2 Tbsps. olive oil
1 leek, white part only, medium dice
1 bay leaf, halved
2 heads cauliflower, broken into florets
1 cup Chardonnay
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1 ½ cups (10 oz.) aged Cheddar cheese, shredded
For the garnish:
Olive oil for sautéing
4 slices firm bread, crusts removed and cubed for croutons
1. Heat olive oil in heavy stockpot and add diced leek. Saute until translucent and flexible and the leek releases its sugars. Add bay leaf halves and the cauliflower florets. Stir until cauliflower releases juices.
2. Add wine and reduce liquid by half or three fourths. Stir in chicken stock and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until cauliflower is tender. Add heavy cream and bring back to a boil. Remove from heat. Remove and discard bay leaf halves. Blend soup to a fine texture.
3. Return to stove over low heat. Gradually add shredded Cheddar, whisking until fully incorporated.
4. Garnish: Heat small amount of olive oil in heavy skillet. Add bread cubes and sauté until golden.
Place on paper towels. Ladle soup into serving bowls and divide croutons to garnish.
Photo and recipe: Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board/Chef Steve Flore Chiappetti