Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Roasted Cauliflower Soup for a Rainy Evening

Roasting vegetables really brings a depth of taste to them. Roasting cauliflower before making soup results in a deep, rich taste to the soup that can't be beat.

You can roast the cauliflower ahead of time while cooking other things in the oven and save it in the fridge for several days, making the soup when you are ready for it. I have not tried freezing the roasted cauliflower but that might work as well.

To roast the cauliflower:
  1. Cut a cauliflower into flowerettes, discarding the leaves and the toughest part of the central stem.
  2. Toss the cauliflower in olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Roast until brown around the edges.
Note: I didn't list a time or a temperature. That's because you can roast the cauliflower while you are cooking other things. For example, I roasted it the other night while cooking a sirloin tip roast, some potatoes, and mushrooms. The cauliflower was in the oven at 375°F for about three-quarters of an hour.

A higher or lower temperature, what else is in the oven, etc., will affect the time needed. This is not rocket science. You are going for slightly toasted but still moist cauliflower. It does smell like cabbage as it cooks so I am not sure I'd roast it while baking an angelfood cake. You wouldn't want the cake to smell like old socks!

To make the soup:
  1. In a soup pot, sauté minced shallot and garlic in olive oil.
  2. Add a peeled and cubed potato and the roasted cauliflower.
  3. Cover with chicken broth.
  4. Simmer until the potato is cooked.
  5. Purée until smooth.
  6. Optionally add a can of fat-free evaporated milk.
  7. Adjust the seasoning with salt and white pepper.
Using an immersion blender to mix in the evaporated milk results in a very thick and creamy soup. The roasting of the cauliflower adds a real depth of flavor. I'm going to have the leftovers right now.

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Imprecise & Inexpensive

Two themes predominate in my approach to cooking. 1. Daily cooking of flavorful food need not be a precise art. 2. You can be an adventurous cook on a budget. Cooking and eating should be fun for both cookers and eaters.