Silky cauliflower soup

Growing up in a Eastern European household, cauliflower was seen as another way to eat more cabbage. My mum used to fry up large chunks of cauliflower with breadcrumbs and lots of salt, it was delicious and taking my lead from her, I’ve created a healthier crumble topping for this creamy cauliflower soup.

To be completely honest with you this recipe came about when I must have had an early onset of Alzheimer’s and I bought three – THREE – cauliflowers within the week. So when life gives you lemons… I made soup. Wanting to create a rich and deep flavour, the roasted garlic adds something special. Add as many vegetables as you like but try to keep the colours light so you end up with a heavenly white soup punctuated by my crunchy golden topping.

Ingredients

1 medium brown onion chopped
1 large leek chopped (white part only)
3 large carrots chopped
4 potatoes chopped
1 large cauliflower, see recipe
1 large roasted garlic bulb (see notes below)
1-2 teaspoons dijon mustard or to taste
2-3 vegetable stock cubes
1-2 bay leaves
3-4 fresh thyme sprigs
1-2 cups milk
Fresh nutmeg to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Crumble topping

Extra cauliflower (small tips of the florets only)
Panko or fresh breadcrumbs
See notes for quantities

  • In a large pot add a dash of olive oil and sweat the onion, leek and carrots. This will take approximately 10 minutes on a low heat.
  • Chop the potatoes and the cauliflower into bite sized chunks and add this to your pot. Reserve 1/4 head of the cauliflower for the optional crumble topping.
  • Cover the vegetables with milk and cold water (approximately 1-2 litres of liquid combined, depending on the size of your pot. Make sure you don’t add too much liquid or your soup will be watery.
  • Add a teaspoon of dijon mustard, cracked pepper, bay leaf and some thyme springs.
  • Cover your pot and simmer on a low heat until the vegetables are soft, this will take approximately 1 hour depending on the size of your pot. Make sure you taste for seasoning.
  • Add the baked garlic cloves, see notes below, remove the bay leaf and add some fresh nutmeg and stir through.
  • Blend the soup until it’s nice and creamy and again, taste for seasoning.
  • Top with cauliflower crumbs, see notes below, or some creamy goats cheese or feta that when stirred through will add to the creaminess.

* To make the crumble topping add a dash of olive oil to a small fry pan and add the small crumbly cauliflower florets you’ve reserved and a generous sprinkle of Panko breadcrumbs. Salt lightly to taste and cook on a high heat until browned. The amount you make will depend on how many you are serving.

** To prepare the oven roasted garlic, pre-heat your oven to 170c-180c, cut the tip of the garlic head to expose the bulbs and wrap in some foil. Bake for 45-60 minutes. You want the garlic to be soft, sweet and not burnt black.

*** You can add as many vegetables to this soup as you like, parsnip works well, just amend your seasoning and quantity of water accordingly.

Cauliflower

I love my carbs, this isn’t new information, but cauliflower is what I deem a ‘healthy’ carb, it’s a vegetable after all! Low in calories and packed with antioxidants like manganese, Vitamin K and Vitamin C, cauliflower is also rich in potassium. Cauliflower has also been linked to having cancer-preventing qualities as well as anti-inflammatory properties that can help with arthritis. Use them in soups, salads, or mash or roast them, no matter which way cauliflower is yum.

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