Creamy Cauliflower Garlic Soup
The mercury has taken a decidedly sharp turn downward and soup season, at least here in Pennsylvania, is in full swing. I hadn’t made a big pot of soup since…um, let’s see…filing through the archives…ah, there! Well, August wasn’t so long ago. But before that, the last batch was made in January. It’s high time to start stirring the pot again, don’t you think?
I’ll start off this winter’s soup making with a recipe I’d clipped years ago (2004 to be exact) and, frankly, forgot. You’d better believe I won’t be forgetting this Creamy Cauliflower-Garlic Soup again. Ever. It is so simple to make, and yet it’s outright luxurious, like a fuzzy white bathrobe that engulfs you after a long hot soak in the tub. Who knew cauliflower could be so dynamic?
I have to shamefully confess that I had this soup prepared and all eaten a couple weeks ago. I hate when my archives get backed up so I’m not posting the day after trying a recipe. But this log jam in the drafts is auspicious in a few ways. First, I can tell you that even now, several days and outstanding new recipes later, this soup still makes me drool. Second, I can say with complete confidence that the leftovers are equally delicious and keep for several days in the fridge.
So, go ahead! Snuggle up with a bowl of this creamy wintry-white soup full of robust garlicky flavor. You should still be able to find some local cauliflower at a farmers market or stand. As for me, I happen to stash away a few bags of prepped florets in my freezer so I can make more soup as the flurries fly. If you can get the extras, I’d recommend blanching it for two minutes and flash freezing it on a tray before bagging it up for future use.
Creamy Cauliflower-Garlic Soup
Adapted from Sunset, December ’04 Issue
1 head garlic, unpeeled
1 T. butter
2 large or 3 small heads of cauliflower
8 C. vegetable broth
½ C. light cream
½ t. freshly ground nutmeg
¼ t. ground cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)
Minced chives (optional)
Using a sharp knife, cut the top half inch off the head of garlic. Set garlic on a sheet of foil and top with butter and a dash of salt. Draw up edges of foil and create a sealed pouch to enclose the garlic. Bake at 400 F until garlic is soft when squeezed, about 45 minutes. Carefully unwrap and let stand to cool.
Meanwhile, trim the leaves off the cauliflower heads and cut into small florets, discarding any large stem pieces. Place florets in a colander and rinse under cool water. Drain before placing in a large soup pot. Add broth and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cover, allowing the cauliflower to simmer until very tender, about 30-40 minutes.
Squeeze roasted garlic cloves from their skins into the soup pot and stir. Add the cream and stir. Using an immersion blender or working in batches with a standard blender, process the soup until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and stir in the nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper. You will likely need to add a good deal of salt and pepper so taste as you add and don’t be afraid to add more.
Serve soup garnished with bacon crumbles and/or chives if desired.