Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Creamy Goodness

There's nothing much more satisfying than a piping hot bowl of soup and a warm slice of fresh bread on a cold winter night. And that's just what I was in the mood for last night as the temperature outside plunged below freezing and I added another layer of clothing to my ensemble.

Not to go off topic, but when my brother gave me an immersion blender for Christmas many years ago, I thought, "Oh, great…another kitchen tool that's going to molder on a back shelf for years until it gets sent off with all the other junk we don't need."

I couldn't have been more wrong, since it's become my go-to appliance for all manner of puréed sauces and soups. Which is where we rejoin the theme established in the first paragraph. (Ha!) Noticing that I had leeks, potatoes and cauliflower all ready to be put to use, I decided to attempt a decadently comforting concoction, something kind of like a smooth chowder.

Roasting the cauliflower didn't add much more effort or time to the process, since it roasted in about the time it took to get the other ingredients prepped and simmering. Then it was just a matter of getting the creaminess I was looking for, which came when I added the sour cream (Tofutti sour cream, in our case, due to Dave's lactose issue). With the aforementioned warm loaf of bread and a green salad with vinaigrette to complement the comfort, we were some happy winter denizens!

Creamy Potato, Leek and Roasted Cauliflower Soup

1 medium head cauliflower, cored and divided into small florets
4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/4 tsp. salt
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 leeks (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise into 1/2"pieces
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled or unpeeled, cut in 1/2" cubes
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
8 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. sour cream, optional
1/4 tsp. white pepper
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375°.

Place cauliflower florets in large bowl and add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine. Put in Pyrex baking dish in single layer and place in oven. Roast for 40 minutes or until fork easily pierces thickest parts.

While cauliflower is roasting, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat in soup pot or Dutch oven. Add onion and garlic and sauté till tender. Add leeks and sauté till wilted. Add potatoes and sauté for about 10 minutes, then add thyme and stir to combine. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer. When cauliflower is tender, add to pot and simmer another 20 minutes or so. Add sour cream, if desired, and white pepper. Using immersion blender, purée until smooth, then adjust salt to taste. Serve immediately or keep warm on the stove on lowest setting, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.

No comments: