I spied the head of cauliflower that had been sitting in my crisper for forever [please, husband, don't be grossed out when you read this] and decided to make my go-to creamy soup. Mom's beet vichyssoise has, is and always will be the most luxurious creamy soup in the world, think velvety potato leek soup that happens to be hot pink from the addition of beets [http://vickisawyer.com/recipes.php]. But when you want something cheap, super healthy and way fast it has to be creamy cauliflower soup.
For those of you who don't like cauliflower, don't worry, this just tastes like creamy velvet, not like a giant vegetable.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup
2 tsp cooking oil
1 medium onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 head of cauliflower, loosely chopped
4 1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
2 tbsp of half and half [can be omitted or replaced by cream or milk, whatever you have]
Heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, salt and pepper and saute until onions are translucent. If you want to fancy this up you can substitute the onion with 2 shallots or add one chopped leek in with the onion. It would be to die for, but I didn't have either on hand.
Once onions are translucent, add the garlic and the cauliflower. Toss together and saute for about a minute.
Pour in your chicken broth. If you are ever doubling or tripling this recipe, I normally, when not cooking for an audience, just pour in enough broth to cover the cauliflower. This tip could come in handy if you don't feel like measuring cup after cup of broth.
Cover the soup and let simmer for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender. One of the beauties of working with cauliflower is that it cooks up in no time.
Pour your soup into a blender and blend for approximately 1 minute. I have a nifty double-wide blender and it held all of my soup but, if using a normal blender, you will probably need to do two batches.
Here is the soup right before being blended.
Once blended, return the soup to the pot and stir in the half and half. You are ready to go! If you would like a thicker soup, feel free to turn the heat back on and let it simmer uncovered for a few minutes.
This soup is simple, creamy and delicious. It's flavors are very subtle and pair well with other dishes that pack a bit more punch. Try dolloping a little pesto on top or crumbling some bacon into it! Oh, goodness!
What I chose to pair with mine was homemade garlic parmesan bread. What I really wanted to pair it with was garlic white pizza but my more disciplined husband encouraged me to make bread with my pizza dough rather than gloopy, perfect, cheesy deliciousness. For the bread, I thought that if my New York heart couldn't have pizza then it wanted another New York pizzeria classic: garlic knots. But, I didn't feel like making tons of little knots or using as much butter as classic garlic knots called for. In a pinch, I made this loaf.
Garlic Parmesan Bread
1 ball of room temperature pizza dough [I used my go to pita/pizza recipe found in my pita and tzatziki post but store-bought is just dandy]
3 tbsp of room temperature butter or margarine
2 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 415 degrees.
Place your dough in a mixing bowl. Knead in half of your butter mixture until you can see that the specks of herbs have spread throughout the dough.
Grease or spray a casserole dish. Choose a dish that allows your dough to be spread out to about an inch thickness while still filling the dish. Add your dough to the dish. Spread the remaining butter mixture over the dough and push it into the surface of the dough with your thumbs, similar to how people make cool thumbprints in focaccia.
Bake on a lower rack for approximately 20 minutes and then move to the top rack for another 5-10 minutes to brown the top of the loaf.