In my pre-motherhood, road warrior days with the hubby, one of our favorite haunts was the Runza fast food chain in Nebraska. He would get a burger and onion rings but I always ordered a Mushroom and Swiss Runza with the cauliflower-cheese soup.
This tastes just like it! I actually prefer this to broccoli cheese soup. I think it's cheesier and more flavorful and I like the variety of vegetables in it. It thickens upon standing and it's even better the next day.
1 stick butter, divided
2 large carrots, scraped, trimmed and grated
2 stalks celery (with leaves), white ends trimmed, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart Kitchen Basics stock, chicken or vegetable
1 1/2 cups water
Tabasco Chipotle sauce, to taste
1 large head cauliflower, stem and leaves removed, cut into bite-sized florets
8 oz. Velveeta, cubed
1 bag (8 oz.) Kraft shredded Triple Cheddar cheese blend
1/2 cup cream or half-and-half
Melt 5 tablespoons of butter in a large soup pot over medium to medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Saute for 5-7 minutes or until tender. Add salt and pepper. Push the vegetables to one side and melt the remaining butter in the pot. Whisk in the flour. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir to make a thick paste. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in stock, water and a couple of shots of Tabasco. Whisk if needed to remove lumps. Bring to a boil. Taste for seasoning. Add cauliflower. Cover and reduce heat; the soup should gently bubble. Cook for 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is fall-apart tender. Stir in cheeses and cream. Heat through.