Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cauliflower Cream Soup with Blue Cheese and Walnut Crostini - Warmth and Comfort

The humble cauliflower becomes something extraordinary when transformed in a delicious autumn soup

The cool air of fall is returning slowly with clouded skies and crisp morning breeze making me long for a warm, comforting dish such as a rich, creamy and healthy cauliflower soup. The garlic, thyme, Parmesan cheese and a pinch of nutmeg elevates this simple soup adding extra-layers of flavor. The sharp and nutty aroma of the blue cheese and walnut crostini, balances the cauliflower beautifully. With a velvety texture, this soup it's a simple yet flavorful option for lunch or as a light supper

The humble cauliflower becomes something extraordinary when transformed in a delicious autumn soup

The humble cauliflower becomes something extraordinary when transformed in a delicious autumn soup. It's filling, but still light, vegetarian, naturally gluten-free and very easy to prepare. Blending this soup produces a silky texture and a touch of cream adds flavor. As with most soups, homemade stock, greatly improves the flavor and nutrition value of this dish. On the other hand, the blue cheese and walnut crostini can hardly be called a recipe, it's really more a combination of a few ingredients. A combination with a wonderful results, that is.

The humble cauliflower becomes something extraordinary when transformed in a delicious autumn soup

Cauliflower contains an impressive array of nutrients including vitamins, minerals and powerful antioxidants. It's therefore a rich source of vitamin B (known for its important role in brain development), vitamin C, K and beta-carotene. Cauliflower is an important source of dietary fibers, important for digestive health. It also helps the body to detoxify in multiple ways. Hence, this is one vegetable that deserves a regular rotation in your diet so try eating it raw by adding it in salads or cooked in a delicious, healthy soup.

The humble cauliflower becomes something extraordinary when transformed in a delicious autumn soup

Yield: 4 servings                        Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients for the cauliflower cream soup:
  • 1 large cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 leek, trimmed, white part only, halved and sliced
  •  3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 springs thyme plus extra for garnish
  • 1.2 l (5 cups) vegetable stock (swap with chicken stock or water)
  • 60 ml (1/2 cup) heavy cream
  • 60 ml (1/2 cup) milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt
  • pepper
Ingredients for blue cheese and walnut crostini:
  • 1 French stick
  • 250g soft blue cheese (Gorgonzola, Roquefort)
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
Directions:
  1. For the cauliflower cream soup preparation, in a large pot, over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Once hot, add the onion and leeks and sauté stirring constantly, until tender, for 7 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the cauliflower and sauté for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the stock, cover and bring to boil then remove the lid and reduce to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 20-30 minutes until the cauliflower is tender and easily pierced with a fork.
  3. Add the milk, cream and Parmesan cheese and cook further for 5 more minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and working in batches, purée the soup until smooth and silky.
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning and if necessary add more salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  6. For the blue cheese and walnut crostini preparation, preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F).
  7. Slice the French stick on diagonal, into 1 cm thick slices and bake them for 10 minutes until crispy and golden. 
  8. Coat the slices with blue cheese and top them with walnuts and grill until golden and bubbly.
  9. Ladle the hot cauliflower soup into individual bowl, sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves and serve with warm blue cheese and walnut crostini.
Enjoy!

Tips and Tricks:
  • Store the soup in the refrigerator, in a covered container for up to 2 days. Stir it before reheating.

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