It’s that time of the year again. The time for soups. And the time for cauliflower. Two things I am happy to post about regularly sorry if it gets boring. Actually I’m not sorry at all, cauliflower is delicious. As is soup.
I’ve made this cauliflower soup before as it’s a variation on my cauliflower sauce recipe. However there’s a few minor changes, plus the parmesan crisp things so I felt it was time it had it’s own post.
About those crisps. They are crunchy, crispy goodness. If you can’t get your hands on puffed quinoa and don’t want to make it (see notes at the end of the recipe for instructions) you could use sesame seeds, puffed amaranth or just leave it out entirely and make parmesan crisps.
This soup will make 4 serves, if you can’t be bothered weighing your cauliflower just use 1 large one and you’ll be fine. You don’t have to use the milk, feel free to leave it out. Just don’t replace it with another type of milk as it could change the flavour, cauliflower soup has such a subtle, delicate flavour.
This soup is excellent with a little swirl of olive oil on top and sourdough to dip in.
1.2kg cauliflower, cut into florets, stalks chopped into 3 cm pieces
1.5 litres vegetable stock or bone broth (or chicken stock!) if not vegetarian
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbs butter (leave out if you like)
1/4 cup +1 tbs for garnish spring onion, finely chopped
80g freshly grated parmesan
1 Tbs dijon mustard
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup milk
salt to taste
parsley to serve
4 slices sourdough
80g parmesan freshly grated
1/4 cup puffed quinoa(*see notes) or amaranth
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Place cauliflower in a large pot and cover with vegetable stock. Smash garlic with the back of a knife and add this too. Bring to the boil. Add the butter and spring onions and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes or until the cauliflower stalks are soft.
Meanwhile make the crisps, sprinkle 2/3rds of the parmesan in 4 cm diameter circles, well spaced, on your lined baking tray. Sprinkle the puffed quinoa over this and then follow with the remaining parmesan. Bake in the oven for about 5 minutes, check them often as you want to take them out once the cheese is melted and they are golden. Set aside to cool on the tray.
Strain the florets, reserving the liquid, and place in a food processor. Process until smooth and then add the mustard, parmesan and white pepper. Process for a minute or two.
Transfer the cauliflower puree back to the pot, add in half the stock and stir over low heat to combine. Add milk. Add more stock until the desired consistency is reached. Check for seasoning and add salt as required.
Serve with spring onions and parsley sprinkled on top and a little swirl of olive oil. Place a parmesan crisp on top and eat with good chewy sourdough.
*Puffing quinoa at home:
Use 1/4 cup quinoa or less.
Wash the quinoa well in cold water. You now need to dry it. Spread the rinsed quinoa on to a parchment lined baking tray and set your oven to the lowest temperature you can (50 celsius on mine). Place quinoa into the oven for 1-3 hours (depending on temp, size of tray etc) on this super low temp, stir often, until it is dry. You can also just leave it to dry overnight at room temperature.
Put a dutch oven, skillet, or heavy based saucepan on the stove top on high heat. Once hot add the dry quinoa. If you are using a skillet you will need to cover it to stop the grains jumping out, but a dutch oven/saucepan will have high enough sides for that to not be an issue. Make sure you move the grains around the pan by either shaking (skillet) or moving around with a wooden spoon (pots).
You will hear them crackle and pop and see them jumping about. They will also become slightly more golden in colour. In a couple of minutes they should be popped. Remove them from the pan and leave to cool.