Going Back To Cauli {roasted cauliflower soup}

Or, if you prefer, we could also entitle this, “I’m goin’ goin’ back back to Cauli Cauli.” Either is fine by me – I’m fans of both Ladies Love Cool James and Big Poppa.

I never really left Cauli, per se, but definitely have been heading west lately to incorporate more of the albino vegetable into my diet. Whilst perusing our latest Bon Appetit, the husband was immediately drawn to a recipe for cauliflower soup with chive oil and suggested that we (I) make it. I bet you $10,000 you can’t guess why he wanted to make it (hint: it’s pureed).

I checked out the recipe on epicurious.com and the reviews weren’t very good. So I decided that I would make him cauliflower soup but I would make up my own. And I did. And it was good and of course, not difficult. I had a leftover parsnip in my fridge from last week’s dinner and so I grabbed that to throw in too. It’s optional but if you haven’t had a parsnip lately, you should. Not only is it an adorable word but they also taste good. Sort of peppery, sweet and mild if that’s such a combination.

Here’s the plan:

  • 1 head cauliflower, washed and cut into cubes/florets/tetrahedrons
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and cut up
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dry vermouth
  • 4 cups chicken stock*
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chives for garnish

* I have marked this recipe as vegetarian because it can be if you substitute chicken stock for veggie stock. I do realize that chicken is not a vegetable. Pizza is!

Preheat your oven to 375° and get out a sheet tray, a large pot or dutch oven and your blender. Let’s address the humble cauliflower and my slightly soft parsnip from the fridge.

Soft or not, we put that parsnip to work. Chop these up and toss them in your sheet pan with some olive oil and salt and pepper.

Roast for 45 – 50 minutes, tossing the veggies halfway through until they look tasty, roasty and toasty like so:

Meanwhile, you can chop up your onion and mince the garlic. Also rinse your herbs and get them ready for action.

Also, try not to do this with your cayenne pepper. Shaky much? You will sneeze.

When your vegetables are roasted, pull them out of the oven and set aside while you get the rest of the soup going. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a Dutch oven or a large pot. Saute your onion for 5-6 minutes until translucent.

Add the cayenne pepper (then launch it across the kitchen), thyme and garlic and saute for only a minute or until the garlic begins to smell fantastic.  Then add in the roasted cauliflower and parsnip.

Add the tablespoon of vermouth and stir until mostly evaporated – about 30 seconds. Then add in the chicken or veggie stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Time to grab the blender. If you have a Vitamix, I’m jealous. I want one but I’m having trouble justifying the purchase of a $400 blender. Until I use my blender and soup comes out the bottom and I realize, you know, I deserve a $400 blender.

Remember the rules for pureeing hot stuff – make sure to have a vent in the lid so that steam can escape. I take out the little clear nipple-nob from the rubber lid and place a dish towel over the opening. This way nothing will explode. I promise.

Insert soup:

Do this in as many batches as appropriate. While you’ve got the opening in the lid of the blender, now would be the time to add the milk and half and half. Return blended soup to the stove to reheat through and serve with a salad and the best baguette you can get in town which in Atlanta comes from Holeman and Finch (although it’s wholesale only, as I learned when I walked into the bakery one afternoon and awkwardly begged them for their product) or from the Mercantile on Dekalb Ave.

If you’ve ever wondered what velvet tastes like, it’s this soup. It’s the smoothest thing I’ve ever eaten. You could leave out the half and half and only use skim and still have a liquid velour track suit in your mouth. And why wouldn’t you want that?