Monday, April 30, 2012

Roasted Garlic and Cauliflower Soup

A few days back I ordered what sounded like a wonderful idea at the time.  A cauliflower chowder.  I envisioned a rich, creamy broth studded with tender cauliflower florets.  What I received was heavy on the salt, more cheesy than creamy, and light on any cauliflower flavor.  

I thought I could do better.  But a cream of or cheesy cauliflower soup didn't seem quite right for our warmer spring weather.  I wanted the rich cauliflower flavors, and a creamy texture, without the heavy dairy.  Thus this recipe was born.

And yes, that is a whole head of garlic listed...

the recipe is my own

Serves 8-10

The Ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
6 cups vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp chili powder

The Process:
Preheat the oven to 400.

Lightly oil a large baking dish.  Arrange the cauliflower and garlic clove in the baking dish, creating an even layer.  Drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil and toss to coat.  Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and beginning to brown.

In a large stock pot over medium high heat, heat the remaining oil and add the onion.  Saute until the onion is tender, about 5-7 minutes.   Add the stock, roasted cauliflower and garlic, and spices.  Bring the soup to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the garlic and cauliflower are butter soft.

Remove bay leaves.  Using an immersion blender, or food processor blend the mixture until smooth.

Serve warm, garnished with a cauliflower floret.

The Review:
As I sampled the soup throughout the process I became slightly distraught.  The lovely light cauliflower flavor was there...wonderfully caramelized.  But the garlic?  Where had all of that garlic gone?  The a tad on the bland side.  Thus went in the salt, chili powder, thyme...

And it seemed a little thin...not quite as creamy as I envisioned.  In retrospect I probably used more broth than necessary.  This did make a TON more soup than I was anticipating.  But I have envisioned a remedy for that next time around...whirl up some cannellini beans along with the cauliflower for some added thickness without too much flavor.

But the soup was a hit nonetheless.  The garlic made a much more pronounced appearance a day or two later after the soup had rested in the fridge.  When not quite pipping hot all of the nuances of flavor came forward.  Including the heavenly roasted garlic.

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