Subtly spiced and quickly cooked, this soup is both satisfying and comforting.
I’m a fool for white soups: potato soup, vichyssoise, cauliflower soup – bring them on, I’ll eat ‘em. With cauliflowers so firm and white in the market now, and winter rains bringing on hungers for good hot soup, there’s only one way to go. It’s cauliflower soup, subtly spiced, quickly cooked, satisfying and comforting. Serve with toast that’s topped with a poached egg.
No cheese in this soup. You can sprinkle some grated Parmesan over each serving if you want to, but I like it when the vegetables dominate, with no distracting help from cheese. A couple of the spices so well-loved in Israel add depth. A dollop of cream promises a rich, soothing soup. It will help you accept the onset of winter, and even rejoice in it.
Ah – that was thunder. The light is fading and the wind tosses the branches of sidewalk trees around. On the balcony, my wooden wind chimes are bumping each other and make musical noises – it’ll rain any minute. I’m glad to be home with this soup for dinner.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 1 medium potato
- 2 sticks of celery
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
- 1 small bay leaf
- 1 medium head cauliflower
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Garnish: Finely chopped parsley, or dots of cream, or a dribble of olive oil in each bowl. Or a little of each.
Chop the onion, potato and celery. Slice the cauliflower into florets and chunks. Chop the garlic and keep it separate.
Cook and stir the onion over low heat in the olive oil until it wilts to a golden color (not brown).
Add the potato and celery. Stir and cook 5 minutes.
Season the vegetables with the spices, salt and pepper to taste, and bay leaf.
Add the cauliflower, mix it with the seasoned vegetables. Cook a further 5 minutes and stir the garlic in.
Cover the pot and let the vegetables steam, over low heat, for 5 minutes.
Add water to cover the vegetables by 1 inch – about 3 cups.
Cover the pot and raise the heat to medium. Cook the soup 15-20 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender, but not mushy. It’s OK if the celery remains crisp.
Remove the pot from heat. Now you’re going to blend the soup. I use a stick blender right in the pot, but if you’re using a standing blender, cool the soup down to a manageable temperature first.
When the soup is blended and smooth, return it to the pot if needed and heat it again over low heat.
Add the cream. Cook, uncovered, until the soup simmers, but don’t allow it to boil. Adjust salt and pepper.
Cover the pot and let the soup mature for about 5 minutes. The vegetables will infuse the cream with their flavors during this time.
Garnish as desired and serve.
Tip: Use a large soup pot for this. The vegetables will reduce in cooking, but the cauliflower will take up a lot of room at the start.