Parmesan & Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Pastrami

Snow storms compromised my tight and minutely planned weekend.  So, I sit at my desk, in the warmth of my home, unable to challenge nature and quite content to watch, wait, and soak in these cozy, homebound days.  

The air has been brisk.  Actually, brisk isn't the word.  It’s been reeaalllyyy cold.  Like, 16 degrees in the mornings.  I love it.  Well, I love it until I run out of gas and have to pump it with frozen hands, and then I have to remind myself of that little gem known as patience.

Parmesan & Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Pastrami {Pedantic Foodie}

I run home, out of breath and desperately gripping my warm latte, to make a pot of winter tonic - soup. 

Parmesan & Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Pastrami {Pedantic Foodie}

Making soup is normally a therapeutic venture for me, but this experience, to be perfectly candid, was anything but.  I spilled all the milk that I had ventured out in the bitter weather to buy.  Spilling half of it in the kitchen, and then managing to spill the second half all over my photography boards, magazines, and rug.  Oh, and then there was the chicken broth spill and the soup boiling over, and then…  You don’t want to know.  

I just wanted to remind you that I too have many, many, many kitchen mishaps.  And sometimes, I cry over spilled milk.  The irony of the situation is not as amusing in the moment though, I assure you. 

Parmesan & Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Pastrami {Pedantic Foodie}

Though the process of making this soup was not as relaxing as I had hoped, when at last the restorative, steaming bowl was in front of me, the hazards of the morning were but a distant memory.  All was right.

This soup is so simple and I absolutely adore it.  It is rich, creamy, and comforting.  It has all the charm of potato soup but it’s flavor is unique and unexpected.  And the crispy pastrami is pretty wonderful.  It is essentially really peppery bacon. 

Parmesan & Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Pastrami {Pedantic Foodie}

I cannot make anything lately without tossing in a few handfuls of cheese.  I was extra generous when it came to this soup.  Several large spoonfuls of grated parmesan add a depth and richness to this soup that takes it from pretty good to “I would like a bathtub full of this stuff.”  Did I mention the fact that I also added a whole lot of cream cheese?

Parmesan & Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Pastrami {Pedantic Foodie}

Apparently, I have no respect for your New Year's resolutions.  I’m sorry/you’re welcome.

We are using frozen cauliflower for this recipe.  It’s a wonderful short cut that can be made guilt-free because flavor is not forsaken.  Frozen cauliflower provides just as much flavor and texture to this soup as fresh, and it saves you a bit of effort.

Parmesan & Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Pastrami {Pedantic Foodie}

The soup is hot, the snow is still falling, and I am ready for a weekend at home. 


  Pedantic Foodie

Parmesan & Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Pastrami

serves 4-6

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 8 ounces pastrami, sliced thickly + diced 
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced 
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth 
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk 
  • 24 ounces frozen cauliflower 
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes 
  • 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese 

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  When the oil begins to shimmer, add pastrami and cook until crisp.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the pastrami from the oil, and set aside for later.  

Reduce heat to medium, then add onions and salt to the pan.  Cook the onions in the remaining oil until translucent, but not browned; about 7-10 minutes.

Add chicken broth and stir to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.   Pour in milk and add frozen cauliflower.  Cover and cook over medium high heat, until the cauliflower is fork-tender; about 20 minutes.  

When the cauliflower is soft, remove the pan from heat and puree using an immersion blender.  Stir in cream cheese, parmesan, and 2/3 of the previously cooked pastrami.  Serve immediately with a sprinkling of remaining pastrami.  Enjoy!

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