Rooting for Soup, and Winning.

Soups / August 22, 2013

When I make soup, especially soups with root vegetables, I am usually wrapped in a sweater and peering out at the symphony of color that clings to the trees behind my home. There’s bread in the oven, pie on the counter, and a few extra pounds hiding under my mid section. Yes, I’m speaking of autumn. And just like the myth that you can only wear white before labor day, you can, actually, make a root vegetable soup in summer and no one will ever call you crazy.

I’ve been reading so many recipes about cauliflower, and one of my favorite recipes is irish mashed potatoes which is actually made with half taters and half cauliflower. It’s superb. And my mom makes a soup with cauliflower that has a classic mirepoix and is nearly half cream cheese and milk. I’ve had it roasted which yields the sweetest, most comforting flavor ever, and even deep fried because I live in South Carolina, and if you’re not nailed down you’ll find yourself breaded and immersed in Canola oil. Certainly there’s a way to find something healthy, vibrant and fresh for a warm autumn day that features this white blossom of the produce world?

My family knows when they hear the sound of the lazy-Susan squeak, I’m reaching deep into the cupboards for the soup pan. It’s big and vast and has yielded some crowd pleasing creations. They plan accordingly, making sure I am not interrupted until the sweet smell of dinner transforms afternoon into a yearning for supper.

Because one never quite knows how much of this and that will be a part of the finished product, I grabbed a bunch of things. Funny enough, I ended up using them all. If it weren’t for the fact that I still had my fuji apple sitting out as a neglected afternoon snack, I may not have thought about adding it. And when I grabbed for the cream cheese, the small remnants of a once large ginger root rolled into view. This in turn prompted me to grab the last bottle of apple beer that I had purchased for a delish apple sangria recipe from a month back and add it too the braising liquid. All of them played a key role in the final, earthy but sweet flavors of my Cauliflower Carrot Apple Cream Soup with Thyme and Ginger.


Creamy Cauliflower Apple and Ginger Soup

Ingredients:

• 3 cups cauliflower cut into ½ inch chunks
• ½ small onion
• 2 very large carrots, diced into small pieces
• 1 fuji apple, unpeeled, and diced
• 1 T finely chopped fresh gingerroot
• 2 T fine olive oil
• ¾ T fresh thyme, chopped finely
• ½ t coriander
• 4 oz. dry white wine (optional)
• 3 to 4 cups vegetable stock
• 2 T butter
• 3 T flour
• 1 C milk
• ½ C heavy cream
• 4 oz cream cheese (full fat)
• Salt and pepper (in total, about 2 T salt and 1 T pepper, but you will need to check and season again at the end.


Direction:

  • Cut up all vegetables and apple. Add oil to hot pan and add veggies and apple. Toss and sauté until onions are sweated. Add white wine and continue to cook until fragrant. Add coriander and salt and pepper to taste. Add stock and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Then add fresh ginger and fresh thyme. Continue to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes on low keeping the ingredients moving with a slight boil.
  • In a small saucepan make the roux, then add the milk, cream and cream cheese. Stir until smooth and thickened. Add little by little to soup, with whisk, and stir until it barely starts to thicken, not very much!
  • Serve with a garnish of fresh thyme and crusty bread! (And of course, the rest of the white wine!)


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