29th August 2014

Cauliflower soup with Avesnes cheese and smoked ham

By MaitreMarcel

Cauliflower is a very healthy vegetable with anti-cancer and detox properties. However, it stinks when cooking and has a very bland taste. Basically, it is boring and needs something to liven it up.

Often it is combined with cheese, as in the British cauliflower cheese dish or the Dutch cauliflower with cheese sauce dish.

In France, cauliflower is often prepared with a white sauce of cream and flour (béchamel) to which grated cheese can be added (mornay) and also ham.

Here, I make a soup of the cauliflower and add a pungent and spicy cheese – Boulette d’Avesnes.

It is another cheese from the North, made up mainly (95 {4cde4f594ebc992dd9c13235afe1d83f0ef707c70b5a049696e6a42fcf7b49ed}) of left-over Maroilles cheese with added herbs and spices such as parsley,tarragon, clove and paprika.

It has a conical shape and is red on the outside because of the paprika. I also add smoked ham, preferably Ardennes ham to stick to the Hainault area of northern France and southern Belgium.


  • One litre of chicken stock (made from six chicken wings, a leek,  an onion, two carrots and a sachet of mixed herbs in 1.5 litre of water, cook for at least an hour)
  • One cauliflower
  • One Boulette d’Avesnes (or other pungent cheese plus some spices)
  • Six slices of smoked ham.
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Prepare the stock.
  2. Clean the cauliflower and break/slice into parts.
  3. Put the cauliflower in the stock and cook for 20 minutes.
  4. Let it cool off a bit (as a precaution against possible splashes in the next step).
  5. Put a plunger-blender in the pan and turn the cauliflower and stock into a creamy mass.
  6. Set aside until serving.
  7. Reheat, cut the cheese in small parts, add to the soup, allow it to melt, stir with a spoon.
  8. Slice the ham in small slivers, add to the soup.
  9. Taste, season if needed, serve.