Monday, November 5, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

I was informed that I could pick anything I wanted to make for my birthday dinner.  Thoughts of lobsters swam through my head.  Large pieces of grilled red meat sounded enticing.  A cute little lobe of foie gras would have been decadent.  But the first thing I really wanted to eat, knowing that I could be a bit selfish in my choice? Cauliflower.  See, we haven't been able to eat any of it lately, due to feeding the little one.  Cruciferous vegetables and beans are things Mom abstains from for the time being.  Unfortunate, because cauliflower is damn tasty when prepared properly...which isn't difficult, as this post shows.  It's fall, it's getting cold, and roasting cauliflower and then zapping it into a soup for a starter course made a good start to my birthday meal.  Oh, and I bought myself a new stick blender as a present, so the anxiety to try it out was growing.  The motor in the old one finally gave way, after about 5 years of use.

My free tip for this dish- warm the bowls with very hot (microwaved) water 5 minutes before serving, of course emptying the bowls before filling with soup.  That will keep the soup toasty warm until the last spoonful. 

Another cauliflower recipe with similar elements.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup
4-5 servings as side dish

1 head cauliflower
6 slices bacon, diced
1 yellow onion, diced (about 1 C)
3 C chicken broth (homemade always preferred)
1 TB fresh thyme plus 1 ts
1 ts kosher salt
1/2 ts freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 ts freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 C heavy cream
2.5 C milk
1 C parmigiano reggiano plus 1/4 C

Fire up the oven to 400F.  Roughly chop the cauliflower into pieces about 1-2" in size.  Spread out on a sheet pan lined with foil and drizzle with a bit of EVOO, toss well, then season lightly with S&P.  Roast for about 35-40 minutes, until lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Put a large cast iron dutch oven on the stovetop over medium heat.  Add a bit of EVOO, then get that bacon sizzling.  Cook until crisp, stirring often, then remove with a slotted spoon.  Cook the onion in the bacon fat until translucent, about 5-6 minutes.  Add the cauliflower, broth, 1 TB thyme, nutmeg, and salt and pepper.  Turn up the heat to medium high and bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Introduce your stick blender to the situation, or puree in batches in a blender.  Next to the pot is the cream, milk, and 1 C of the cheese.  Stir and adjust seasoning if needed with S&P.  Return to low heat until warmed through, then serve in bowls with the reserved bacon, thyme, and cheese. 

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