Cauliflower leek soup
I won’t pretend that this is a delicate or pretty soup – but it is hearty and delicious and a pretty fantastically healthy substitute for the potato chowder that it resembles. As a vegetable, I feel that cauliflower gets a pretty bad reputation because it is seen as bland and tasteless, but I’ve been using it a lot lately in combination with other things so expect a whole bevy of recipes using cauliflower to pop up on this blog over the next couple weeks. I wouldn’t eat cauliflower plain, but in combination with other vegetables, roasted, or as part of a soup, it really comes into its own. Here it’s basically used as a thickener for the soup, which makes it filling while adding all the lovely nutritional benefits of cauliflower. The added flavour that comes from the garlic, leeks, and hint of chili powder ensure that this is not a bland soup at all. I added lemon juice for a bit of extra zing.
Cauliflower leek soup (adapted from What’s Cooking)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 pinch of chili powder
- 1 cauliflower
- 2 leeks
- 4 cups water or vegetable stock – I used a mixture of both
- Lemon juice to taste
- fresh thyme
- sea salt & pepper
Chop up the onion and garlic first and put in a medium-large soup pot that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Then, separate the cauliflower florets from the stalk by just chopping off the stalk and cutting the whites into smaller pieces. The florets don’t have to be perfect by any means, but make sure they are in fairly small pieces. For the leek, chop off about an inch at the bottom and also discard the dark green leaves of the leek at the top and the dark part at the top. Leeks look enormous and unwieldy but by the time you’ve chopped off the irrelevant parts, they are actually quite manageable. Chop this piece in half and make sure it’s rinsed quite well as dirt can gather in between the layers. Chop it in to pieces as big as the onions (so pretty small.)
Turn your pot on to medium heat and start cooking until the onions soften. Add a bit of broth or water if the onions are sticking to the pan. Then stir in the chili powder and leek and cook for another couple minutes. Finally, add all your cauliflower and let it cook for a couple minutes more before adding several cups of stock (you can eyeball this as some people like more or less) and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and let it simmer until the vegetables are quite soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. You can then either use a hand immersion blender or transfer it in batches to a food processor or blender to puree it. Then stir in lemon juice, thyme if you have it (I think I just used a bit of dried) and salt and pepper to taste. if the soup is too thick for your liking just add some more broth or water. If you are serving it, you can fancy it up a bit by adding some lemon zest over the top, a sprinkling of chili flakes, a sprig of fresh thyme, or even some toasted flaked almonds on the top. If you are just serving yourself like me, then feel free to portion it out into containers and toss some in the freezer for a later time when you are too busy to cook.
So yes, definitely not the most attractive dish I’ve ever made, but for an autumn/winter lunch it’s perfect, particularly with a side of roasted vegetables to add some colour to your plate. I should mention this also freezes incredibly well and I have some leftovers in my freezer right now for those nights when I don’t have time to cook (yes, it does happen).