A while ago, I made this cauliflower/blue cheese soup that turned out really well. I didn't blog about it because it was too dark to take pictures and there weren't enough leftovers to do it justice afterwards. (I guess I could have photographed it in a spoon or something. How come I never come up with these genius ideas when they're needed??)
Anyway, then I read about Anne's roasted cauliflower soup, remembered that roasting makes cauliflower the Best Thing Ever, and decided to do things a bit differently this time. (Unfortunately "differently" also involved a bad burn on my hand. Boo! But not so bad as to mar my enjoyment of this fabulous soup.)
If you're not into blue cheese, 1) you may like this anyway, although 2) it'll probably be fine even without it, as there's rather a lot going on: roasted cauliflower and garlic, and dashes of sherry, nutmeg and worcestershire sauce (I can never tell if I've spelled that right) adding a bit of depth. I personally really like it with a base of chicken stock and thickened with a roux, but switch to vegetable stock and throw in a potato or two to thicken things up if you're looking for something more healthy and/or vegetarian.
Roasted Cauliflower & Blue Cheese Soup
2 heads cauliflower, about 1200 g total (2½ lb)
4 smallish onions
3 stalks celery
8 cloves roasted garlic*
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 l chicken stock (4 cups)
200 ml light cream (needs to be the kind that doesn't separate from heat, over here we have something called "food cream") or non-nonfat milk
4 tbsp dry sherry
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
100 g (3½ oz) blue cheese, crumbled
white pepper (and salt, at least if you're not using the cheese) to taste
*I roast several whole heads of garlic wrapped in foil (in a low heat) until very very soft, then press out the innards, mush them up, and put them in an ice cube tray that I pop in the freezer. Once the garlic cubes are frozen solid, I transfer them to a ziploc bag. After which I just throw in a frozen cube of soft-flavored garlicky goodness into whatever stew-type thing I'm making.
Cut the cauliflower into florets, toss in a bit of olive oil and spread out in a large pan. Peel the celery (I find this cuts the harsh taste some people dislike) and chop them fairly finely. Cut the onion into chunks. Toss onion and celery (+ garlic if you don't have pre-roasted) with a bit of olive oil and wrap in foil.
Roast both cauliflower and onions at 175°C/350°F until the cauliflower's soft and slightly browned, stirring a few times so it doesn't stick too badly. (If possible, avoid burning your hand in the process. Ouch.)
Once the cauliflower is ready, melt the butter in a large pan until it's all bubbly. Add the flour and stir for a few minutes, then add, still stirring, cauliflowers, onions and garlic and (hot) chicken stock. Season with sherry, worcestershire sauce and nutmeg, cover, and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Puree in a blender (in batches) until very smooth, then return to the pan and add cream/milk and cheese. Stir on a low heat until the cheese has melted. Check the taste and add pepper and salt if needed.