Roasted Cauliflower Stars In This Creamy Soup

This Sept. 14, 2015 photo shows roasted cauliflower and greens soup with cheese-covered rye toasts in Concord, N.H. This dish is from a recipe by Sara Moulton. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

This Sept. 14, 2015 photo shows roasted cauliflower and greens soup with cheese-covered rye toasts in Concord, N.H. This dish is from a recipe by Sara Moulton. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

This time of year, with the weather being colder, I love to serve soup for supper. It’s an easy sell at my house, where The Husband is a soup-aholic. But with a soup this good, I firmly believe you can sell it to anyone. The trick is to amp up the flavor, vary the texture and make it substantial.

Here I started by roasting — not boiling — the cauliflower. Roasting eliminates excess water, brings the natural sugars to the fore and concentrates the flavors (adding some nuttiness in the process). Next, I make sure not to obscure the cauliflower’s flavor with too many other ingredients. Yes, there is onion and garlic, but they play only supporting roles. Likewise, the stock, diluted with water, is designed not to overwhelm. The greens — because they’re not pureed and not added until the very end — pack a satisfying little punch of their own without compromising the cauliflower taste.

You may notice there’s no dairy in this recipe. While it’s true that dairy adds luxuriousness to a soup’s texture, it also tends to blot out flavor, particularly delicate vegetable flavors. That’s why I almost always leave it out.

Similarly, there’s no flour or cornstarch here. This soup owes its rich thickness to the pureeing of some of the cauliflower, onion and garlic in the company of a lone Yukon Gold potato (for silkiness).

The right tool for pureeing a soup is a blender. Neither a food processor nor an immersion blender will make it quite as smooth. Just take care not to pack the blender with too much hot soup at a time. Fill it no more than a third full for each batch, otherwise you may end up wearing it (and that can burn!).

At the end of the recipe, to provide some crunchy contrast to the creamy base, I added roasted cauliflower florets. Finally, there are those garlicky cheese rye toasts — Yum! — that contribute yet more crunch as well as big flavor, whether you tear them up and toss the pieces into the soup or happily munch them on the side.

The finished product is a tasty, hearty, healthy and affordable soup for supper. And if you use vegetable broth, it’s vegetarian, too. Either way, it’s fully capable of standing on its own, or with just a small salad.

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