Sunday, February 9, 2014

stay warm this winter with roasted cauliflower soup

every once in awhile, i get a bee in my bonnet to eat healthier and it almost always includes thinking that becoming vegetarian is a good idea. i could never fully go vegetarian, since i'm utterly unable to give up bacon (can one be a bacotarian?), but there you have it. true to form, we decided that we'd eat vegetarian during february. or at the very least cook vegetarian during february. we're a week in and it's actually going pretty well. our weather is cold, grey, dreary and rainy and what's better for that than a warming, delicious roasted cauliflower soup?

i only learned to roast cauliflower, in the oven, with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of cumin, in the past year or so and it's now my go-to method, whether we're eating is as a side dish or letting it, like here, take the center stage as the star of the show.

i have pinned quite a number of cauliflower soup recipes on pinterest of late, since it's in season, often local, and one of my favorite brassicas (we like it much better than boring old broccoli). but i didn't follow any particular one of them, but just let the inspiration start there and become something of my own.

roasted cauliflower soup

1.5 heads of cauliflower (that's what i happened to have, you could do with one large one as well)
1/2 bulb of fresh fennel, diced
1 large onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic
50 grams butter (approx. half a stick, for those of you in the states)
1 can coconut milk
1 C good white wine
4 C good veggie stock (or chicken stock, if you're not going vegetarian)

for toppings:
crumbled bacon (again if you're not trying to be vegetarian)
toasted bread crumbs (if you are)
crunchy onions (called ristet løg in danish)
a handful of black olives

wash and pull apart the head of cauliflower into florets, cutting ones in half that seem especially large. arrange them on baking paper on an oven tray. drizzle over a bit of good olive oil and a small pinch of ground cumin on each one. pop them into a 180°C/375°F oven for 20 minutes or so until they are softened and getting a bit brown on the edges.

meanwhile, sauté the diced onions, garlic and fennel in the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot. when they are softened, but not brown, add the toasted cauliflower and the liquids. allow them to simmer for 15-20 minutes or so, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. use a stick blender to blend the soup creamy, taking care not to splash and burn yourself (i make the mistakes so you don't have to). you can return it to the stove at this point and let it simmer a bit more to meld the flavors or you can eat it right away. 

serve with a bit of crumbled bacon or toasted bread crumbs or crunchy onions on top. we have a ready-made product here called ristet løg (roasted onions) - and it's what you see in my photos. you could also make a gremolata or some pesto or mojo to dollop on top. a spoonful of creme fraiche or maybe some crumbled goat cheese would be good as well. the options are pretty much endless. i served it with slices of bread, fresh out of the oven and it was a warming, filling, fragrant and healthy dinner. and possibly also pretty good for breakfast, should you be so inclined or need to take photos of it in better light.


Anonymous said...

To make it lighter, all that butter can be subbed with just a teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil. You'd be surprised what just a dot of oil can do!

julochka said...

@simplyvapersonalcook - good point. it depends on what you're going for. it's winter and cold, so we're looking for fat and flavor! :-)


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