Soup Sundays: Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower soup

Sometimes I set these crazy goals for myself -- like I'm going to make soup and bake bread every weekend all fall and winter (or I'm going to work out every day or I'm going to come up with a schedule for cleaning the house and stick to it...). As much as I'd like this to be a reality, it's just unrealistic. I'm not even home every weekend. So I downgraded my goal a little to making soup and/or baking bread any weekend that I am actually around all fall and winter long. I still think it might be a tough goal to meet, but I love soup and fresh bread (especially when it's nice and chilly outside), so if I can keep up with it, it will certainly have its rewards.

I went through some of my cookbooks, the pins I've saved, and my food magazines and jotted down soups I've been wanting to make. As I looked down the list, which ranged from chicken tortilla soup to tortellini in brodo to split pea soup, I realized that it could take me several falls and winters to get through the whole thing, even dedicating every weekend to soup making. It was definitely ambitious but I had to start somewhere, so I picked a recipe and got down to business.

The first soup I tried was cauliflower soup, using a recipe from the September/October 2013 issue of Cook's Illustrated. I tasted this soup many times in different iterations as it was being developed at work, and by the time it was done, I liked it so much that I knew I'd be making it at home. It has great nutty cauliflower flavor, and it's not difficult to make at all. The ingredient list is short and the soup is vegetarian. It is also incredibly creamy despite that it doesn't have a drop of cream in it. And if that's not enough, it's topped with a decadent drizzle of brown butter, fried cauliflower florets, and some freshly snipped chives.

Cauliflower soup

 To make it, you start by sautéing leek and onion in butter with a little salt.

Onion and leekSauteed onion and leek

Then you add the water and simmer the cauliflower, adding it in batches. Staggering the cauliflower cooking time enhances the soup's flavor.

Making cauliflower soupMaking cauliflower soup

Then you prepare that decadent topping I mentioned by browning butter and frying cauliflower florets in the butter so both get nutty and browned.

Browning butterCauliflower florets

Cauliflower florets in brown butterCauliflower florets in brown butter

Cauliflower florets and brown butter

Once the soup has simmered and the cauliflower is the right texture, you're supposed to put it in a blender. I took the lazy route and used my immersion blender to puree the soup. It won't be quite as creamy and velvety this way, but it does save time and some dishwashing.

Cauliflower soup

Finally, you ladle the soup into bowls and give each serving a nice drizzle of browned butter, a scoop of florets, a sprinkling of chives, and a twist from a pepper mill. Then you dig in.

Cauliflower soup

If you like cauliflower and browned butter and you like warm, filling, thick yet light soups, you'll want to try this one. The nutty flavor and comforting velvety texture are winners in my book.

How often do you make soup at home?

Note: I'll be making many of the soups in my Soup Sundays series following published recipes. I'll link to the recipes whenever I can, but I won't be posting them here if I haven't made significant changes to them. Think of this series more as "soup reviews." You can find the recipe for this cauliflower soup here.