Coarse salt and coarse black pepper
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp butter
2 small heads cauliflower, or 1 large, cut into small bunches of florets
3 ribs celery and leafy tops from the heart of stalk, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 quart chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half or whole milk
Hot sauce, optional
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves or chives, for garnish
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, for passing at the tableDIPPERS INGREDIENTS:
3 sandwich size sourdough English Muffins SPLIT
(recommended: Thomas’ brand English Muffins)
3 tbsp butter
1 garlic clove, minced
Grated cheddar and Parmesan

In a large pot, heat up the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter, over medium heat, season with salt and pepper. Add the cauliflower florets and stir with a wooden spoon. Add celery, onion and thyme and cook for 3 minutes. Push the vegetables to 1 side of the pot. Melt 1 more tablespoon of butter on empty side of pot and add flour to the butter. Cook for 1 minute, stirring the flour in the butter. Mix in chicken broth and half-and-half. Bring up to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Puree soup using an emersion blender, food processor or blender and return to pot. I like to leave it a little chunky. Check seasoning and add a dash of hot sauce, if desired.

Garnish soup with hot pepper sauce, chopped parsley or chives and serve with grated cheese to sprinkle on top.
Preheat broiler.

Toast English muffin halves and then place on a cookie sheet. In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the garlic over low heat. Brush toasted muffins with garlic butter and top with lots of grated cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. Sprinkle a little paprika over toasts, then place under broiler until cheeses are melted and browned. Serve cheesy toasts with soup for dipping.

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray