It's the time of year when it's easy and almost expected to overindulge. Cookies, candy, hot chocolate, dips... it's everywhere and so hard - at least me- to resist. Enter healthy soup! This is the recipe for those looking for something creamy and fancy with any guilt. It's easy to make and is very impressive. I would go so far as to suggest that those who don't like cauliflower will like Cream of Cauliflower Soup. I like to rate recipes on Gary's "oh yum" scale. This got two "oh yums". He's a huge fan of creamy, velvely soups, and this one glistens with goodness. The recipe is from French Fridays with Dorie, and can be found at food.com, among other sites. It's not too late to pick the book ... or add it to your list for Santa! As you're preparing for the holiday season, you may be finding your refrigerator a little cramped and in need of some paring down. If you have a few less than perfect carrots, some wilty celery and a few onions, you're half way there. Your kitchen will be filled with the wonderful smell of roasting vegetables as you roast the onions, garlic, carrots, leeks and celery.
If yo're in a hurry and just want the soup NOW, pick up a quart of vegetable or chicken stock, chop the cauliflower and add it the the herbs. In 20-30 minutes, puree and you'll have great soup. If you're a stock maker like me, you can make your own stock. It will add about 1-2 hours more, but I think you'll be very pleased with the results.
I roasted mine for about an hour at 400. There was lots of great caramelization on the vegetables.
The key to the golden color is to roast the vegetables long enough, and to deglaze the pan. Just put the sheet pan over a burner, turn on the hear, and add about a a cup of water or wine. The crispy brown bits (fond) will lift off, and the whole works goes into your stock pot with the veggies and water to simmer.
The stock simmered away for about one hour. Time to stain the pretty broth from the vegetables.
I used the cotton strainer designed by Michael Ruhlman to separate the solids from the stock. It you haven't found these already, go to Open Sky and pick up a set. They would also be a great present for the cook in your life. They wash easily and are easier to handle than cheesecloth.
Once the stock was complete, I sauteed new onion, and leeks, and added wth cauliflower and herbs. The new soup simmered about 30 minutes. After a good puree in my beloved Vitamix, the soup was finished. Rich, golden and warm with an amazing aroma.
I hope you'll try this over the holiday season. Serve it is little espresso cups with a dollop of Cream Fraiche, a little cheese or go fancy schmancy with a touch of caviar.