roasted cauliflower soup


I know I’ve told you this before, but I am not a soup person.

I would like to be a soup person.  I would like to be able to take whatever I have in my refrigerator and create a one pot meal with it.  I would like to be the type of person who has soup for lunch on a cold winter day.  I would like to be able to order either a soup or salad at a restaurant instead of turning to Gerrit and letting him pick, so that in the end he ends up with both.

But I am not a soup person.  There is one soup that I adore, a baked potato soup that my mom makes every Christmas, and that is about it.  Sure, I made a garlic soup several months ago, and it was delicious and I keep it in the back of my mind for a dinner party.  But I think it could use some improvements (namely, to have a bit more substance to it).

I’ve been looking for soups I might like though.  A couple of weeks ago I made a chickpea soup, and I think it might have been delicious.  But I, not having used much red pepper in my spicy-food-free life, put way too many flakes in and could hardly stand a bite or two.

In this cauliflower soup though, I think I may have found what I have been looking for.  It is a soup that is full of flavor, without being too overpowering.  Roasting the cauliflower first gives it an extra depth of flavor, and the half and half (the original recipe called for heavy cream, which just doesn’t seem right to me in a vegetable soup) smooths it all out.  This soup would be perfect paired with sandwiches for a simple winter dinner.  Although we ate just the soup itself and thought it was a great light dinner.

It is simple to make and simple to eat.  And I think the best thing about this soup is that we are taking so very few ingredients (garlic, shallots, cauliflower) and treating them in the best possible way by roasting them so that the flavor gets all concentrated and sweet before being turned into a soup.  It might be an extra step, but it is an easy extra step and an extra step that I believe makes all the difference.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup
adapted from Gourmet via Epicurious

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Bake Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Serves 4-6

2 heads cauliflower, cut into florets
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 shallots, peeled and thickly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 bay leaf
1 cup half and half

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Toss cauliflower, garlic, shallots, olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper together on a large baking sheet.  Roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes, tossing with a spatula about half way through, until cauliflower is golden.
3. In a large pot over medium heat, combine chicken broth and water.  Bring to a simmer and add cauliflower mixture along with the thyme, bay leaf, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Allow the mixture to simmer for about 30 minutes, until cauliflower is very tender.
4. Remove the bay leaf and puree the soup using a handheld immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor.  Return the soup to the pot (if you removed it to puree it) and stir in the half and half.  Heat the soup until it is warm again (the half and half probably cooled it down).  Taste the soup for seasoning, adding more salt and/or pepper if necessary.  Serve warm.

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