Sometimes I just want something soothing and comforting. Like a hug. It may be 60 some degrees outside and sunny, but I'm still fairly much on house arrest until we can get the swelling down. I did sneak out to Meijers over the weekend and filled my tiny little cart with an assortment of vegetables. I've discovered that husbands, although they have many spectacular qualities, cannot be trusted to grocery shopping by themselves. It's all nitrite laden meat and no veggies. blecch. well the 3 packs of bacon in the fridge is weirdly comforting. But otherwise blecch.
I am a veggie girl. I have been craving veggies. So even though I've had a lot of very good soup over the last 3 weeks, I thought of my Soup & Bread cookbook and the Blushing Cauliflower Soup recipe and loaded my cart full of cauliflower and red peppers.
This is some serious good soup. It's comforting. It's filling. It's fairly nutritious (the full cup of heavy cream keeps me from saying it's totally healthy). Cauliflowers are a cruciferous vegetable so it has cancer fighting properties. It's also super high in Vitamin C. The red bell peppers are high in both Vitamin C and Vitamin A and provide help against anti-oxidants and free radicals and may help protect against heart disease. It's not the easiest soup ever. It does take 2 pans. But overall I think it's worth it. I really liked the combination of flavors of the nuttiness of the cauliflower, the cooked red pepper and the crunch of the raw red pepper. Yummy.
Blushing Cream of Cauliflower Soup
1 large head cauliflower, broken into florets
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion chopped
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 rib celery finely diced
3 red peppers, stemmed, seeded, and diced
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine
4 fist sized all purpose potatoes, peeled and diced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Steam the cauliflower over boiling water until barely tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Add the butter and oil and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until wilted about 2 minutes. Add the carrot and celery and saute 2 minutes more. Add 2 of the bell peppers and saute another 2 minutes. Scrape the sauteed vegetables into a soup pot.
Add the stock, wine, potatoes, tomato paste, basil, and thyme to the soup pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium low and simmer until the potato is done and the cauliflower is quite tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until it is smooth. Reheat, then stir in the remaining sauteed vegetables, the milk, the cream, and about three quarters of the remaining bell pepper. Season with the salt and pepper. Heat the soup through, being careful not to let it boil. Serve hot garnished with remaining red pepper.