On point for flavour and creaminess!
Roasting vegetables before adding them to soup is a great way to boost flavour and that’s certainly the case with this recipe. While this easy to make soup is delicious on its own, I really like to garnish creamy soups with something crispy, crunchy or chewy to add some extra texture and visual appeal. Sometimes, I’ll simply use a few of the roasted cauliflower florets but I highly recommend quick-fried capers as they add a huge pop of flavour.
- 1 large head cauliflower (about 2 lbs / 1 kg), cut into bite-size florets
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) olive oil, divided
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups (1 L) vegetable broth
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) ground cumin
- Pinch chili powder
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) butter (or non-dairy alternative like butter-flavoured olive oil)
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
- Finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, chives and/or green onions, to garnish
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) small capers
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- On the baking sheet, toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until lightly and evenly coated in oil. Arrange the cauliflower in a single layer and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake until the cauliflower is tender and caramelized on the edges, 25 to 35 minutes, tossing halfway.
- When the cauliflower is almost finished roasting, in a Dutch oven or large heavy-duty pot, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and turning translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add the broth, thyme, cumin and chili powder.
- If desired, reserve 4 of the prettiest roasted cauliflower florets for garnish. Then transfer the remaining cauliflower to the pot. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, to give the flavors time to meld.
- While soup cooks, prepare fried capers. Pat capers dry on paper towel. Heat oil in a very small pan over medium heat and when it is shimmering, add capers, watching for spattering. Cook, shaking pan, for 60 – 90 seconds, until capers have crisped. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.
- Once the soup is done cooking, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Remove thyme stems.
- Puree with an immersion blender or carefully transfer the hot soup to a blender and puree it, working in batches if necessary. Stir in the butter (or butter alternative) and lemon juice; continue stirring until butter has melted. Season with a few grinds of pepper then taste and add more salt if needed and a little more lemon juice, if you like that bright note in a soup.
- Top individual bowls of soup with 1 roasted cauliflower floret or a spoonful of fried capers and a sprinkle of chopped fresh herbs. This soup keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for four days, or for several months in the freezer.
Makes 4 servings.