When the sky turns grey and cold with a threat of rain, I think “soup.” Nothing is so warming or satisfying as a hot bowl of homemade soup. Often, the best homemade soups are a result of leftovers, forgotten bits from the vegetable drawer — produce that needs to be used ASAP. This soup is one of those wonderful inventions. As we savored the final result, I had to smile to myself. Other than the broth and garlic, the rest of the ingredients would have ended up as chicken scraps in another day or two.
The vegetables in this soup could simply be chopped and cooked in broth in the soup pot. This will give you a fine soup, far superior to anything you might pick up at the supermarket. But to take the flavors to a new level, roast them. Roast them all! They fit on one large baking sheet. The added flavor boost is so worth it if you have the the time for the roasting process.
With this soup I had already promised Frederick some baking time so while the vegetables roasting in the oven, Frederick and I whipped up batter for four small loaves of applesauce bread. The vegetables were done by about the time the bread was ready for baking. All I had to do was turn down the temperature.
I have to honest and admit that our soup would have had more cauliflower in it except I kept eating it raw while I prepared the other vegetables to roast. Then Amanda came in and ate some of it roasted before the vegetables went into the soup pot.
This is the star line-up for our soup: one tired head of cauliflower, one large russet potato getting soft and beginning to sprout, 2 red bell peppers with some bad spots removed. By the time the spots were removed I had one generously sized bell pepper. In their final performance, no one would have thought of these vegetables as “over the hill.”
Roasted Cauliflower Soup Ingredients
- 1 head cauliflower, washed and broken up into small flowers
- 1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/8s (The potato provided thickening, you may want more.)
- 1 large red bell pepper, washed, cored, seeded, cut in half
- 1 head of garlic
- 2 tablespoons light olive oil (or other high heat oil)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon lavender pepper (optional)
- 1 quart broth (bone broth or vegetable broth)
- Heavy cream and parsley for garnish
Roasted Cauliflower Soup Steps
- Place the cauliflower on a large baking dish and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, possibly some lavender pepper if you have it.
- Using a spatula and your hands, toss until the cauliflower is completely coated in oil.
- Add the potatoes to the pan and repeat the tossing process.
- Just using your hands, coat the inside and outside of the pepper halves with oil.
- Arrange the vegetables in a single layer, giving each piece as much space as possible. Place the pepper halves cut-side down.
- Cut the top quarter of the garlic head off, exposing many of the cloves. Drizzle a tiny bit of oil over the center of the cut. Wrap the garlic head in foil and place it on the baking tray.
- Roast the vegetables at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. Some folks like to roast at a higher temperature. I choose a lower one to protect the oil from reaching its smoke point. Roasting takes a little longer, but the flavor of the vegetables is not compromised. Twenty minutes in, remove the pan from the oven and toss the vegetables to get more even roasting. At this point the peppers may be done. If the skin is beginning to brown and come loose from the flesh of the pepper, remove them from the tray and set aside.
- While the vegetables are roasting, bring the broth to a simmer in a large soup pot. Remove the skin from the roasted peppers and cut them into a 1/4 inch dice.
- When the vegetables have roasted to perfection, add them with the red peppers (except for the garlic) to the broth and simmer for a few moments to blend the flavors.
- Pull five or six of the garlic cloves free from the head. Peel the cloves and mash them with a fork. Add the garlic mash to the soup and stir it in. You may prefer more or less garlic. Store the rest of the roasted head of garlic in the fridge to use in other dishes in the next few days.
- Serve the soup as is — chunky and beautiful, steaming and flavorful –or you could puree the vegetables with an immersion blender. If the pureed soup is not thick enough for you, add a thickener of your choice. I like using tapioca flour.
For a slightly richer soup you could thicken it and add heavy cream. At the last minute I added bits of ham left from a holiday dish. Bits of almost any cooked meal would work well with this soup.