Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Roasted Cauliflower and Caramelized Onion Soup with Parmesan Crisps

Pretty much the only thing I like about the weather getting colder is that means it's soup time! Well, ok I also enjoy cozy sweaters, tea, and boots (sexy boots, not mukluks). I think I've mentioned before that Tyler doesn't like soup. Fortunately, I now have a soup ally. Parker asked to have this soup instead of macaroni and cheese last week. Score one for the good guys.

The first time I made this soup I loosely followed a recipe from Closet Cooking. I meant to follow it exactly, but I kept getting distracted. Among other mistakes I made, I forgot to add milk to the soup and thinned it out with water instead. It wasn't until we had finished dinner that I realized I had forgotten a pretty major ingredient. As it turns out, the cauliflower is creamy enough without having to add dairy. I have posted a cauliflower soup previously, but this one is better, if I do say so myself.

I put this soup on double duty the second time I made it. To half of the soup I added some goat cheese and shredded cheddar cheese after blending it and used that as a healthy base for macaroni and cheese. I know. I am a frickin' genius.

One Year Ago: Nada
Two Years Ago: Fried Udon Noodles 
Three Years Ago: Fresh Pea Pesto Pasta (ie Labour Pasta)
Four Years Ago (yes! My blog-iversary passed on Oct 17. Four years!): Caldo Verde Soup 

Serves 4-6
I always try to have some homemade chicken stock in the freezer, especially during soup season. If you don't have homemade, I have found Campbell's Stock First is a good store-bought alternative.
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into small pieces
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss cauliflower with a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet along with garlic (no need to peel it). Roast on middle rack of oven until browned on one side, 10-15 minutes. Stir cauliflower to put browned side up and return pan to oven for another 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven but keep oven on. Peel garlic.

Meanwhile, heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add butter and onions, season with salt and pepper. Cook onions, stirring often, and adding a splash of water when onions start to get too brown to deglaze the pan and stop them from burning (this is a quick caramelizing method. You can use a slow method of your choice if you'd like. I'm just not that patient). Once onions are very soft and deeply browned, add stock, thyme, and roasted cauliflower. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes, until cauliflower is very tender.

Carefully ladle half of the pot into a blender and blend until smooth, adding water to thin to desired consistency. Repeat with other half of cauliflower mixture. Alternatively use an immersion blender to blend right in the pot. Return soup to pot and add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, stirring until melted (if your soup isn't piping hot reheat before adding the cheese).

For cheese crisps, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make small piles of Parmesan cheese and pat down flat. Bake until melted and golden brown. Watch closely- they will burn quickly. Remove pan from oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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