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Bowl of Hearty Goodness

Here's an Austrian variation on a German lentil soup, with cauliflower and Gruyere cheese.

by Jean Hecker

Every winter just as a bitter wind would start to blow and the sky would fill with the grey clouds of an approaching storm, Mom would turn to my sister and me and say, “Well girls it’s time for soup!”

She had many recipes, most of them handed down from her mom. There was no canned soup in our house with the exception of a few cans of Campbell’s Cream of Tomato Soup. Somehow, you just can’t beat it with a grilled cheese sandwich on a rainy day.

One of her favorite soups was an Austrian variation on a German lentil soup that included cauliflower. Here it is with a couple of updates. Cheesy, hearty goodness in a bowl!

Austrian Cauliflower Lentil Soup

2 tbsp evoo
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 medium carrot, finely diced
4 slices of bacon, finely minced
1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp finely minced fresh thyme
5 cups chicken bone broth (I got a great box in ShopRite)
1/2 head cauliflower, cored, trimmed and cut into small florets
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded

Heat oil and bacon in pot over medium heat, saute for five minutes, then add onion, celery, carrot and thyme. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, stirring occasionally until vegetables are softened. Add lentils and broth, simmer for about 30 minutes until lentils are tender. Stir in cauliflower and continue to simmer until a crispy tender.

Preheat broiler with rack six inches from element, divide soup among four broiler-proof bowls. Top with cheese and broil until cheese is golden and bubbling.

Soup can also be placed in a large broiler-proof bowl and served family style. Slice up a loaf of crusty bread and enjoy.

Food for Thought