I’m almost embarrassed to be offering up a cauliflower recipe. The popular autumn brassica has been trending for so long now I wonder if it hasn’t jumped the shark. Truth is I’ve been whipping up variations of this soup since I stumbled upon the original recipe in Food & Wine in 2008. Pretty sure I even served it as the first course at Thanksgiving that year.
Trends aside, this soup is SO easy to make, travels well and freezes well, and two weeks after I’ve ambitiously over-purchased produce at the market, when the cauliflower starts to look worse for wear, I know I can quickly make this and use up any other hearty white vegetables on their way out (parsnips, turnip, potatoes and the like) while I’m at it. No matter if cauliflower is popular or not, this soup will remain in my meal rotation always.
Lastly, it’s a good way to trick my husband into eating a vegetable-based meal, “Chorizo Cauliflower Soup” I announce with a wink.
Crispy Chorizo Topped Cauliflower Soup
Adapted From the November 2008 Issue of Food & Wine
Makes 4 servings
Put a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium low heat. Add:
1 tablespoon safflower (or other neutral) oil
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 medium parsnip, peeled & roughly chopped (recommended but not mandatory)
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped, leafy tops reserved for garnish
Sauté until onions are tender and translucent, 5-8 minutes. Add:
2 small or one large head cauliflower, broken into florets, fibrous middle removed
1 quart chicken stock
1-2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Cover and bring to a boil. Tilt the lid and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer until cauliflower is very fork tender, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over a medium flame. Add:
¼ cup diced Spanish chorizo
Sauté the sausage about 2 minutes, allowing some fat to render and the edges to brown and crisp. Add:
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
Using a heat-proof rubber spatula, mix the breadcrumb – chorizo mixture often, allowing it to turn golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Don’t walk away! Panko seems like it is taking forever to toast, then suddenly it is burnt and while I care about the crumbs, it’d be a true shame to ruin expensive chorizo. Remove mixture from heat and set aside. Plug in the immersion blender or set up a countertop blender. When the cauliflower is fall apart tender, remove from the heat and allow it to cool for a few moment, remove the bay leaves. Add:
1 cup milk, or if you’re feeling indulgent, half & half
Blend until smooth and creamy. Working in batches if necessary. Season to taste with:
Ground white pepper
Ladle into bowls and top with chorizo – breadcrumb mixture and a reserved celery leaf.
Tell us – in which dishes is cauliflower making an appearance on your table these days?