Saturday, August 14, 2010

Curried Cauliflower Soup

Where else in the country are you craving soup these days?  Probably no where other than San Francisco.  I don't remember another summer when I wanted to shut myself in the kitchen and braise, stew, and simmer away.  It's just not right!

But, if you've got to do it then tasty recipes are important.  I picked up the winter 2010 edition of Donna Hay Magazine, one of my all time favorites (the magazine hails from Australia, hence the current issue is "winter").  There were pages of simple soups full of big flavors, all made with ingredients found in any well stocked pantry.  I was drawn to many but the Red Curry Sweet Potato Soup grabbed me first.  It's a basic pureed vegetable soup with the extra punch of Thai red curry paste, fresh ginger, and coconut milk.  I didn't have a sweet potato so I used a beautiful small head of organic cauliflower plus a small baking potato.  The prep came together in about five minutes, including the prep, and with the help of my immersion blender and a 20 minute simmer, I had succulent soup.

This is a base recipe you could use with many substitutions.  Sweet potato, of course, but I'm thinking butternut or acorn squash, parsnips, carrots, or celery root-even a combination of veggies.  Light coconut milk would work, although the texture may not be so rich.  Veggie stock for chicken stock is an easy swap too.

Give it a try and make it your own.  Looks good, doesn't it?

Curried Cauliflower Soup (inspired by Donna Hay)

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, chopped
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbs minced fresh ginger
2 tsp red curry paste
1 1/2 pounds chopped cauliflower (I cut mine into 1-inch pieces)
1/2 pound peeled and finely chopped baking potato
4 cups chicken stock
1 can (about 2 cups) coconut milk, well shaken
1 tbs sour cream
2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and, when hot, add the onion, garlic, and ginger with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are translucent but not browned, 4-5 minutes.  Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, 1 minute more.  Stir in the cauliflower and potato with another pinch of salt.  Add the chicken stock, increase the heat to medium high, and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium low, add the coconut milk, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower and potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until completely smooth.  Alternatively, the soup can be pureed in a traditional blender.   Heat the soup gently, taste, and season as needed with additional salt and pepper.  Soup can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated at this point up to three days (or frozen up to 3 weeks).

Ladle hot soup into warm soup bowls, topping each with just a bit of sour cream and a sprinkling of cilantro.  Serve right away.


Amelia PS said...

sounds lovely.
I made a similar soup this winter from "ad Hoc at home" and it was spectacular. It was served with beet chips.
And BTW, I am a uber fan of Donna Hay too!!! She is a master food stylist.

Fillippelli the Eater said...

I have been craving curry paste and coconut milk recently. This sounds fantastic.

Ironically, wife and I will be in SF this coming Thurs. through Sat. Eating at Zuni Thursday night. In RRV all day/evening Saturday.

Any recs for an affordable but still delicious on Friday night?

Mmm....that's good said...

Fillippelli...thanks for the note. Do try the soup, it rocks (if I may say so myself!). You'll love Zuni if you haven't been. As for Friday, it really depends on what you're looking for. I am a huge fan of Pizzeria Delfina-there are two locations and both are just outstanding. Less pricey than the original Delfina but the quality of the food is just as good. If you want to go more ethnic and less atmosphere, there is a great Burmese place called Burma Superstar. Lines are long but food is unique and delish. Have a great trip!

Kara said...

Hi Jodi,

This sounds great! I have also made the Ad Hoc soup that your friend Amelia referenced and concur, that it is also delicious! Quick question for you, I have a soup swap with some girlfriends every year, and one of them is a vegetarian. I always swap out the chix stock with veggie stock, but I can't find a brand that I like. They all seem to give the soup a sweetness that I don't like. Do you have any suggestions? I don't love using water.

Mmm....that's good said... is a recipe for homemade veggie stock. You can sub veggies in for any that you don't have around, using more of one thing and less of another. It's super simple and freezes well so you can keep it around after you make a batch. I agree-the store-bought brands are not so tasty!

Vegetable Stock

1 tablespoon butter
2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and roughly chopped
1 turnip, peeled and roughly chopped
3 celery stalks, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large leek, roughly diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
6 quarts cold water
1 bunch parsley, stems only
4 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Wash all the vegetables well. In a large stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the carrot, parsnip, turnip, celery, leek and garlic. Cook 15 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently so they do not burn. Add the cold water and increase the heat to high. Add parsley, bay leaves, thyme and peppercorns. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

Strain the stock over a large container and discard vegetables. Put the broth back in the pot over high heat. Cook, uncovered, until stock reduces to 4 quarts.

Cool completely and refrigerate, covered or freeze in 1 cup portions.

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