Wowza – is it cold here on the east coast! I don’t ever remember it being this cold. It has been interesting to see how my 1830s house on the river deals with the temperatures. Lets just say – our toes are rather frosty! With half the house under renovation, the other half is trying hard to keep up. But thankfully our forefathers were thoughtful enough to put lots of fireplaces in here so we can keep the one downstairs cranking out toasty warmth – enough to shed a layer or two of clothing. This morning, the mighty Delaware River outside my door stopped flowing. Frozen – it has had enough!
These temperatures call for soup! Not wanting to venture out into the cold, I peered into my fridge yesterday to see what we could cook up for dinner. A head of cauliflower smiled back at me along with the bunch of week-old kale needing some love. To the soup pot we go!
Now as you are most likely aware unless you never go to the grocery store, cauliflower is having a moment; a big moment. Soon after the low-carb diet lovers discovered you could use spiralized zucchini as a stand-in for pasta, they figured out that this winter veggie is a terrific stand-in for rice. With the low-carb craze taking hold, this lowly cauliflower has been thrust into the limelight. I now see it pre-riced everywhere. I, for one, am thrilled. I have always adored this winter veggie even when it was hidden in the back of the market shelves behind its more popular cousin, broccoli.
Its mild taste makes it an excellent backdrop with which to experiment. I usually just either cut it into florets or cauliflower steaks and toss it with some olive oil, salt and pepper and roast it into crispy heaven. But if you have been following along the blog, you will know that I am without a kitchen currently due to the renovations. So cooking is relegated to my unflappable induction burner. I really wanted to deepen the flavor of the cauliflower so I pan-roasted the florets and garlic first before tossing into the pot. I also purchased good quality kale chips to top the soup rather than roasting them in the oven (time-saver!) For the recipe below, I included instructions for roasting both the cauliflower and kale in the oven as you most likely will go that route. If you are in a one-pot kind of mood, you can skip the roasting all together and just add the cauliflower and garlic to the pot right after sautéing the onion. Just simmer longer until the cauliflower is tender.
Mission accomplished – a bright green bowl of healthy goodness to warm our toes during the cold.
Buon inverno a tutti!(Happy winter everyone!)
A winter nutrient-packed soup to brighten your day!
- 1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
- 4 large cloves garlic, peeled
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large bunch kale, tough stems removed, torn into 1 inch piece, divided
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- Toasted pine nuts
- Extra virgin olive oil
Roast the cauliflower: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss the cauliflower and garlic with a few tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven until the cauliflower is tender and browned, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Check to be sure the garlic is not browning too quickly. If so, remove from pan. Remove from oven and reduce oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a bowl, toss half of the kale with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven, stirring about halfway through, until the kale is crispy, about 25 minutes.
While the kale is in the oven, heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add in the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and garlic to the pot and then the stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Stir in the remaining kale. Bring the heat back up to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Add back to the pot. Taste and adjust seasonings. To serve, ladle into warm bowls. Top with some of the crispy kale, pine nuts and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- Serving Size: 6-8