Cauliflower Potato Cheese Soup

My friend Lisa Palmer gave me this recipe 20 years ago (minus the cauliflower and double the potatoes), and it’s been a family favorite ever since.  I recently replaced half of the potatoes with cauliflower, and it made it even better.  No one knew I changed the recipe, but they did notice that one of their favorites tasted better than usual.  It’s so easy; I just have to remember to buy leeks and cauliflower when I plan to make it. I use a hand mixer or blender stick to mash the potatoes and cauliflower right in the same pan I cook it in.  I often add some extra soup base (about 2 to 3 tsp) to the simmering stock for extra flavor but add less salt in the end.  Be sure to use good quality extra sharp cheese to add more flavor with less cheese.  I like to make broccoli on the side and add it to the soup at the table.  Enjoy!  
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Ingredients

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock 2 leeks, cleaned and chopped white to light green part only 3 potatoes (about 5 cups), chopped into similar-sized pieces 5 cups cauliflower florets 3 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated Milk or stock for thinning the soup, about 1 to 2 cups as desired Salt and pepper to taste Chives and grated cheese for garnish (optional)

Directions

1) Simmer leeks, potatoes and cauliflower in 4 cups stock until potatoes and cauliflower are tender.  About 20 - 30 minutes
2) Use a hand mixer or blender stick to mash the potatoes and cauliflower in the stock until mostly smooth or to preferred consistency.
3) Add grated cheese and stir.  Thin soup further to desired consistency with milk.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve into bowls, and top each serving with grated cheese and chives, if desired. I enjoy this soup with broccoli, so I steam or roast broccoli and serve it too.