When the big snow storm hit the East Coast recently, I have to admit I was a bit jealous. I wished it was going to be us that were to be snowed in. My romanticized version included watching movies in front of the fire, snuggled up with the Hubs and my two furry friends; playing the new backgammon game that has yet to find its way out of the box while sipping wine; and, of course, cooking lots of wonderful food that would fill the house, and us, with warmth. My version heavily relied on there still being power and heat, but it’s my idealized dream after all.
Instead the sun shone in Boise and it was in the upper 40’s. The Hubs went outside to tinker in the garage. The cats found warm spots to sit on the patio. I wasn’t giving up. I headed to the kitchen.
This Curried Cauliflower Soup recipe that I found in Food & Wine had all those warm spices I was thinking about. There was roasting. There was simmering. There are jalapeños for some inner heat. The original recipe didn’t call for the cashews but I liked the added texture. And definitely don’t skimp on the squeeze of lime. The acidity adds a nice brightness.
Also noteworthy, this soup is healthy, gluten free and vegan and turned out to be a great soup, snowed in or not.
- 1¾-pound head of cauliflower, cored—one-third cut into ¾-inch florets, the rest coarsely chopped
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1½ tsp coriander seeds
- 1½ tsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp ground allspice
- ¼ tsp cayenne
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp coarsely grated fresh ginger
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 Idaho potato russet (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 qt vegetable stock, preferably homemade
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro, 1 seeded and thinly sliced jalapeño, coarsely chopped cashews and lime wedges, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- In a medium baking dish, toss the cauliflower florets with ½ tablespoon of the olive oil. It's helpful to keep the larger florets separate from the coarsely chopped ones as you'll be using them in two different ways.
- Season with salt and black pepper and roast on the top shelf of the oven for about 20 minutes, until tender but not browned.
- Meanwhile, in a small skillet, combine the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds and toast over moderate heat, shaking the pan, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and let cool. Add the turmeric, cinnamon, allspice and cayenne and pulse until finely ground.
- In a large pot, heat the remaining 1½ tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the ginger, garlic and spice blend and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes.
- Add the chopped cauliflower, potato and stock and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes.
- Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth and silky. A wand blender also works really well for this if you have one.
- Return the soup to the pot and add the coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and pass the roasted cauliflower florets, cilantro, jalapeño, cashews and lime wedges at the table.