I’ve been holding on to this one for a while.
Pressures of what to write, how to write it and if it would be good enough, have been sitting on top of my chest as I’d lay down to bed at night. Uncomfortable would be the best way to describe it; a feeling that I should be writing something funny, but I can’t, or won’t.
Yet with the New Year approaching, I decided I should let it go. Sometimes the recipe needs to speak for itself.
And this soup definitely has a voice: creamy and lush, hints of thyme, bay and a little “something” from the chili powder makes this bowl of assumed homogeneity a contender. It’s full of body from the blended potatoes and has an unexpected amount of depth from the caramelized bits of roasted cauliflower.
Grab a hunk of warm, crusty bread and enjoy this winter fare tonight. But be sure to save some for tomorrow, as it’s even better as leftovers.
Adapted from Creamy Broccoli Soup
This Serves About 6
For the oven roasted cauliflower
1 tablespoon of mild flavored olive oil
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets (try to keep everything, except for the leaves)
1 big pinch of fine sea salt
For the rest of the soup
1 – 2 tablespoons of olive oil (just enough to coat the bottom of the pot)
1 large onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
Half teaspoon of chili powder
4 cups of low sodium broth (I used homemade vegetable)
4 potatoes (about the size that individually fit in the palm of your hand), cut into about half inch pieces
1 large carrot, diced
1 large parsnip, diced (if you don’t have any parsnips, use two carrots. I’ve done this before when caught in a pinch and it tasted fine.)
1 cup of unsweetened, unflavored soy milk (or any other non-dairy milk)
Quarter cup of nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon of butter, like Earth Balance (optional)
Salt to taste
A sharp knife
A medium sized mixing bowl
A cookie sheet (or two) lined with parchment paper (optional)
A very large pot with cover (or dutch oven)
An immersion blender or a blender
Place the oven racks to the middle and lower position in your oven. Preheat your oven to 425F.
In your mixing bowl, add the cauliflower florets, olive oil and big pinch of sea salt. Toss the ingredients together till the cauliflower is well coated with the olive oil. Place the cauliflower on one to two (optional, lined with parchment paper) cookie sheets, depending on how much cauliflower you have. If using only one cookie sheet, place it on the bottom rack. Otherwise, place both cookie sheets on individual racks in the oven, and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, switching position of the sheets halfway through. Roast the cauliflower until it is tender and the outside is beautifully browned (it does not have to be browned all over, if leaving it in the oven for too long makes you nervous about burning).
Add one to two tablespoons of olive oil to your pot. Place the pot over a burner on medium heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the diced onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion becomes translucent. Add the minced garlic, rosemary, and chili powder and stir to incorporate the ingredients. Cook until fragrant, about a minute.
Add the broth, potatoes, carrot and parsnip. Stir till the ingredients are incorporated. Bring the pot to a boil, then lower the heat so that the ingredients are at a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for about twenty minutes.
After twenty minutes have passed, add the almond milk, sherry and nutritional yeast. Stir and heat the ingredients through.
By now the cauliflower should be caramelized from roasting in the oven. In one fell swoop, dump the cauliflower into your pot. Stir in the cauliflower so that it’s evenly distributed in the soup.
With an immersion blender, blend about half of the soup, or to the consistency that you wish (I like to have some bits left whole in my soup). If you don’t have an immersion blender, ladle some soup into your blender, but be careful to not fill more than half way. Lid, cover with a towel (to protect your hand), and immediately blend (do not let steam build up in the blender or else you may risk of eruption and burning your hand!). Add it back to the soup, and continue this until the soup is down to the consistency you desire.
Add salt to taste.
*Does it need to be just a little bit creamier? If desired, add a tablespoon of butter, like Earth Balance. Otherwise, you’re done! Serve immediately.