By Jane Ward
Quite often a holiday meal of brisket or pot roast will begin with a soup course. This recipe for a simple soup made with the vegetable cauliflower, commonly found in the cold weather, is humble in origin but rich in texture and flavor. When drizzled with a bit of bright green herb oil, the golden soup looks like a work of modern art. This soup has only a few ingredients and simple instructions, but it also has huge flavor. The onions and cauliflower are sauteed with curry powder. In the heat of the pan, the curry blooms and really begins to assert its familiar spicy heat. After blending, the natural texture of the cauliflower makes the soup creamy and thick without having to add any additional cream or dairy product. The herb oil that is drizzled on top creates a fresh taste that compliments the warmth of the soup. All together this soup is a beautiful first course that offers something a little different in the traditional holiday feasts. Both quick to assemble and delicious, creamy curried cauliflower soup may just become a family favorite.
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon sweet (also called mild) curry powder
1 large head of cauliflower, cored and broken into florets
6 cups vegetable stock, plus more for thinning if necessary
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
Small handful of flat parsley leaves
Small handful chives
1. Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil in the bottom of a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and stir to cook until softened. When the onion is soft add the curry powder to the pan and saute for a minute.
2. Add the cauliflower florets to the pan and stir. Once the cauliflower has been mixed with the onion and spice add 6 cups of vegetable stock to the pan.
3. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pan to simmer until the cauliflower is soft.
4. When the cauliflower is fork tender remove the saucepan from the heat. Allow the soup to stand and cool a bit.
5. With a stick (immersion) blender, blend the soup directly in the pan to a fine puree. Alternatively you may blend the soup in batches using a counter top blender. When the soup is very smooth you may return the pan to the stove to reheat the soup for serving, or let the soup continue to cool and store it in containers in the refrigerator to chill until serving time.
6. For the herb oil place the olive oil, parsley and chives in a blender or in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade. Turn on the motor and process until the herbs are pulverized and well combined with the oil. Scrape this herb oil into a small bowl or into a squeeze bottle.
7. When ready to serve the soup, reheat it and ladle portions into bowls. Either drizzle herb oil onto the surface of the soup with the tip of a spoon, or squeeze it from the bottle into a decorative pattern. Serve hot soup immediately.
Recipe courtesy of food blogger and novelist Jane Ward, 2012.