Let’s just forget about my previous cauliflower soup. That perfectly serviceable recipe made cauliflower palatable to me, but this curry-spiked one (from Food and Wine via Joy the Baker) renders it downright delicious. All of you who are freezing your butts off in the wintery parts of the country should cook this ASAP. Rich and creamy (but not heavy), with warming toasted spices (my first time using cumin seeds and I’m a convert!) and a gentle sunny hue, it’s a bowl of comfort and cheer that fits right in with your eat-more-vegetables resolutions. I know I’m as guilty as any food blogger of tossing around clichés and hyperbole, but this soup honestly was a revelation for me. If I’d managed to post it before the 31st, it would have made the 2014 favorites list, even in a field of heavyweight contenders.
I suspect you could leave out the butter if you want to lighten things up, but I wanted to make the recipe as written the first time and it was so wonderful I’m not sure I dare to mess with it—but maybe I’ll try decreasing to 2 tablespoons and see how it goes. I added about ½ to 1 cup more broth, because I like my pureed soups on the thinner side, and probably a bit more yogurt as well, because it really is a genius finishing touch—adding creaminess (especially if you use Greek yogurt) but also that zip of acidity that most pureed vegetable soups cry out for. Joy suggested pairing this with “some sort of cheesy bread situation,” and following her advice is an excellent call; alternating spoonfuls of soup with bites of melted sharp cheddar on baguette was heavenly.
1 large head cauliflower (1½ to 2 pounds), halved, cored, and cut into 1.5-inch florets
1 heaping teaspoon cumin seeds
1 heaping teaspoon curry powder
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and crushed red pepper flakes to taste
1 small to medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
¼ cup plain yogurt
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread cauliflower florets on a large rimmed baking sheet (lined with parchment if desired for easier cleanup) and sprinkle with cumin seeds and curry powder. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and toss to coat. Season with a big pinch of salt and another of red pepper flakes. Place in the oven and roast until just tender, about 25 minutes
- In a large pot over medium heat, warm the last tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the roasted cauliflower to the pot along with the butter, bay leaf, and broth. Simmer over medium heat until liquid has reduced some and the cauliflower is very tender, about 15 minutes. Pick out and discard the bay leaf.
- In a blender, carefully puree the soup in two or three batches until very smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan and stir in the yogurt. Rewarm over medium heat, adding more broth to create a thinner consistency if you’d like. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Time: 1 hour
Leftover potential: Great; freezes well.