With the weather dropping to -100 yesterday (not actually) it seemed only right to come home from the library and make myself a nice large pot of steamy, tummy- warming soup.
I absolutely love thin soups, like chicken noodle or just your plain old pastene and brodo (mini pastas and broth), but there is something about a hearty creamy soup that cures the chills. The only problem with this is, i hate cream! As i’m sure many other soup connoiseurs can agree, creamy soups can sometimes taste like a big bowl of seasoned whipped topping. On top of that, the amount of unneccessary calories and fat can be a major turn off to those seeking a big bowl of comfort.
I have the solution: CAULIFLOWER.
Yes i know cauliflower sucks. Its white, gritty, flavorless etc etc, but in the world of soup, it is cream’s arch enemy.
Think of it this way, any soup you make, whether it be cream of mushroom, or plain old asparagus, cauliflower can replace any sort of cream and butter and still be absolutely delicious. Cauliflower is super healthy for you, so it comes without the guilt.
The trick is, you saute your onion and garlic in some olive oil, add some broth and a head of chopped up califlower. Let it boil until it is soft and then puree! So simple, so easy, so creamy.
Onions also help to really thicken up soups, and if you’re truly desperate, you can add a tbsp of corn starch to a cup of warm stock, pour that into your pre- puree cauliflower concoction, and you’ve got yourself some insta- thickness.
The possibilites are endless. You can add fresh herbs to your soup for added flavor, and you can put them in whole since they all get blended together in the end. Any cream of whatever soup you want, cauliflower has got your back. Not looking so bad anymore now is it?
I am going to share with you the soup i made last night. I went a step farther then the puree, i added in a lil somethin’ extra to have the best of both worlds. Get creative, there really are no limits in the land of soup. And with the winter winds coming quick, might as well perfect your favorites before you’re too chilled to the bone.
CREAMY VEGETABLE SOUP WITH GNOCCHI AND GREENS
1-2 boxes of NO SALT chicken stock. (You can use veggie or beef, whatever you desire. Make sure to get NO SALT ADDED, this way you can salt and pepper without the influx of sodium)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 meduim onion, chopped
1 head of cauliflower, greens cut off and florets cut into pieces
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
frozen veg ( i used corn and peas)
1 package of sliced cremini mushrooms (you can use whatever mixture of mushrooms you’d like)
1 package of enoki mushrooms
Fresh herbs (i used sage an thyme)
Half a package of gnocchi
1-2 cups of greens ( i used spinach, but swiss chard is even better)
salt + pepper
1. Heat oil in a pot. Add in your minced garlic and onion until translucent
2. Add in 3 cups of broth, cauliflower, pepper and fresh herbs (these can go in whole bc they will be pureed in the end), cover on high heat
3. In a separate pot, heat some sesame oil with a bit of chopped garlic and onion. Once translucent, add in your mushrooms, the tiniest bit of soy sauce (or tamarin sauce, gluten free soy sauce), and some fresh herbs, ensuring to remove all stems and chop into pieces (thyme and sage are really good w mushroom). NOTE: Wrap your herbs in a cheese cloth if you put them in whole. Cover on medium- high heat
4. Once the cauliflower is nice and soft, either transfer the contents to a blender and puree. Or, if you are smart, use an immersion blender. So so so much easier.
NOTE: The more stock you add, the less thick the soup, so it really is all up to you.
5. Open a bottle of delicious red wine, pour yourself a glass and enjoy. Soup making is almost over. OH, and if you’re feeling generous, you can add a tiny bit of wine to your mushooms, but make sure to do this early on enough so that the wine- y taste has a chance to cook off
It really is so easy, you can do anything with cauliflower as your cream. My two favorites are creamy pesto soup where yes, you guessed it, you add 1-2 packages of basil to the cauliflower before you puree, so delicious.
I also love corn chowder made with cauliflower.
Make sure to get a box of your favorite crackers for dipping because this soup will be HOT.
We don’t need Campbell’s to make a soup that is MMM MMM good (too far?)