Tuesday, October 30, 2012

roasted cauliflower and parsnip soup

This slow descent into cool weather, while unfortunate in that I'm always so bone cold, does have some side benefits. I'm a winter cook, really. The foods I like to make tend to be of the heartier variety and often involve turning the oven on.

This cauliflower and parsnip soup percolated in my brain for several weeks before I got around to making it. Strangely the first inspiration came from a cauliflower that had gone bad in my mother's fridge, and thinking about the fact that it was a vegetable that Bunny tolerates. I needed to come up with a way to make him actually like it. Clearly that was through a soup. Then I needed a stronger flavour to go with it, maybe with a bit of kick. Therein came the parsnip. The rest? Easy peasy.

Ingredients:
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 4 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-2 inch disks
  • 2 sweet onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-3 inch sections
  • 3 stalks of celery, cut into thirds
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 6-10 cups chicken or vegetable stock (or water, if that's what you have)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp + 1 tbsp olive oil
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350* F.
  2. Spread parsnips on a baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tsp oil set time for 20 minutes, put the 'snips in the oven.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Heat up the remaining oil.
  4. Add onions, saute for about 10 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic, saute another two minutes.
  5. Add carrots and celery to the onions. Pour stock over the vegetables until just barely covered in water. Place lid on pot, bring to a simmer.
  6. After 20 minutes, spread cauliflower florets over parsnips and place in the oven for another 20 minutes.
  7. When cauliflower and parsnips are done in the oven, carefully transfer them into the stock pot. The parsnips particularly should have some caramelized sections on them from the olive oil. Add more chicken or vegetable stock to cover the mixture, replace lid and let the soup simmer for another 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from the heat. With an immersion blender, carefully puree the mixture. (Alternately, transfer to a normal blender or food processor and puree). Continue adding stock to the mixture until you reach your desired thickness and texture for your soup.
  9. Taste for seasoning. Depending on your stock you may need to add some salt, but that's all to taste.
  10. Serve with nice crusty bread and enjoy!

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