Roasted Cauliflower Bisque

© 2012

If you did not know, we have an insanely popular post for roasted cauliflower, Roasted Cauliflower with Red Chile, Cilantro & Lime. If you haven’t read it or tried it, you need to do so. It’s that good. Of course, almost anything with red chile, cilantro and lime is going to be good. We decided to play with it and play with it we did. Roasted cauliflower with a twist – we turned it into soup. 🙂 It was very good, too.

The last soup we posted was a chowder, Chicken Poblano Chowder, to be precise. It was a chunky, creamy soup/stew. Here is another creamy soup but its called a bisque. Other than that’s what I named it, why is it a bisque and not a chowder? Well, what is a bisque?

Traditionally, a french bisque is a thick, smooth soup made with a shellfish base in which the shellfish has been puréed. The most well-known bisques are lobster bisque, crayfish bisque, crab bisque, and shrimp bisque. They are thickened with rice, fish veloute, or crusts of bread fried in butter. The shellfish is cooked and the cooked shellfish and mirepoix are pounded in a mortar and, along with the thickener, rubbed through a very fine sieve. The soup is then finished with a little butter, cream and cayenne pepper with perhaps some sherry, cognac or brandy at the end. A little of the shellfish forming the base of the bisque is also reserved, diced and added at the end for garnish. A lot of work, eh? When I was learning how to cook, I actually made bisque in this fashion just to know how it was traditionally done. The result was truly mind boggling good but perhaps it was because I had put so much work into it that I mentally convinced myself it simply had to be that good. 😮

As with everything else, society changes and there are technological advancements as time passes. When Auguste Escoffier was setting the standard for fine French cuisine, the electric age was just beginning. There were no blenders, food processors, mixers or any of the niceties of today’s modern kitchen. If you were going to make a smooth, luscious flavorful shellfish soup, you had to make it this way. What took countless hours to do by hand in the days of Escoffier are now accomplished in minutes in a modern kitchen. But what happened to change a bisque from a smooth, luscious shellfish soup into any thick, creamy fish, tomato, or vegetable based soup, i.e squash, tomato, mushroom, and red pepper bisque? It absolutely beats me as these latter soups traditionally were classified as “les purees.” Perhaps it was simple a marketing game to get people to try new soups or take an everyday soup, i.e. Campbell’s Tomato Soup and make it fancier, i.e. Campbell’s Tomato Bisque, which is lumpy. Go figure. Technically, this soup would be classified as Puree of Roasted Cauliflower Soup; however, inasmuch as it meets today’s standards for a bisque, we call it Roasted Cauliflower Bisque. Regardless what you call it, give it a try. It’s downright delicious.


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp red chile blend
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 lb grated white cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • Sea salt, to taste


Using the cauliflower, red chile blend, garlic, and olive oil, follow the directions on Roasted Cauliflower with Red Chile, Cilantro & Lime for prepping and roasting the cauliflower. For the red chile blend, we used a blend of Ancho chile, Guajillo chile, and Pasilla Negra chile for a deeper flavor but the Red New Mexico chile will work fine.

© 2012

Remove the roasted cauliflower from the oven and pour into vegetable broth.

© 2012

Bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes to extract the flavors of the cauliflower into the broth. Now, pour into blender and puree.

© 2012

Pour back into pot and heat over medium heat. Now, add heavy cream.

© 2012

Stir to incorporate and heat through. Now add the grated white cheddar cheese

© 2012

Stir to incorporate and melt the cheese. Salt, to taste, finish with chopped cilantro, serve and enjoy!

© 2012

21 thoughts on “Roasted Cauliflower Bisque”

  1. Nice recipe, Richard. I bet this bursts with flavor.
    So bisque is another French word of which the meaning has evolved 🙂 Good to know, because I would be expecting shellfish.
    Roasted cauliflower is something I make with chiles, too!

    1. HI, Stefan. Thanks for the nice compliment. I posted a reply earlier and it disappeared. Hmmm…I wonder what I did????? This was a good recipe and we were pleased with the outcome. It is nothing similar to the roasted cauliflower with red chile, lime and cilantro because of the cream and cheese but very tasty nonetheless. There is something about cauliflower and chiles. Have you seen our post on Karfiolleves (Paprika Spiced Cauliflower Soup with Dumplings), This is a wonderful cauliflower soup made with spicy Smoked Paprika.

  2. A delicious excuse to break out the blender indeed. I need to revisit cauliflower again, there were some superb varieties a few months back with purple & yellow flowers. I think I definitely need to try the chilli version and being the coriander fiend I am, that’s a big yes too!

    1. Hi, Alice. This is a wonderful reason to break out the blender, indeed. We love cauliflower and are always looking for different ways to serve it. We have several cauliflower soups but we wanted to try something a little more unusual and this seemed to make sense. It’s a remarkably smooth bodied soup and the addition of the cheese made it even creamier. The cilantro at the end adds a nice, earthy, floral touch. 🙂

  3. Don’t understand the ingredients in the soup that don’t get used I.e. olive oil, chili powder, etc?

    1. Sorry if it wasn’t clear. Per the instructions, “follow the directions on Roasted Cauliflower with Red Chile, Cilantro & Lime for prepping and roasting the cauliflower. We used a blend of Ancho chile, Guajillo chile, Pasilla Negro chile for a deeper flavor but the Red New Mexico chile will work fine.” I will work on the instructions to make them more clear.
      The 1 head cauliflower, 1-1/2 Tbsp red chile blend, 3 cloves garlic, minced, 2 Tbsp olive oil are used to roast the cauliflower per the recipe on Roasted Cauliflower with Red Chile, Cilantro and Lime found here –

Food for thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s