Friday, January 27, 2012

Soup Night #1

Soup Night--lots of chopping, but the rest was easy

On Monday night I had my first Soup Night at my house: 26 people, 16 cups of cauliflower and three heads of garlic for roasting, 4 cups chopped leeks, 4 potatoes, a couple big celeriac, homemade vegetable stock.  Add a few herbs and spices and some olive oil and you've got a delicious vegan soup. Folks ate every bit, with bread and wine and a couple of fine desserts brought by friends, and spent the rest of the time talking talking talking. It was fun. Here's the recipe, from Winter Harvest: 

Roasted Cauliflower Hidden Garlic Soup

This warming, subtle soup, adapted from The Voluptuous Vegan, uses an entire head of garlic, but I know from many taste tests that no one will guess. The trick is the roasting. Depending on the stock and condiments, it can be meat-based, vegetarian, or vegan.

1 head garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups cauliflower, in florets
1 cup chopped leeks, white part
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
2 cups chopped celeriac
6 cups water or stock
bouquet garni
1 teaspoon hot paprika
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Slice off the top of the garlic head and pull and rub off as much of the skin as comes off easily. Put the head on a square of foil, big enough to cover, pour on about a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Wrap the garlic up in the foil and bake until soft, at least 30 minutes.
Put the cauliflower on parchment paper or silicon sheet on a cookie tray. Pour a little olive oil on your hands and rub them onto the florets. Sprinkle with salt and spread onto one layer. Roast, checking often, until tender. It’s ok if they color up,
Warm 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot. Saute the chopped leeks over low heat until soft. Do not let them brown. Add potatoes, celeriac, liquid, cauliflower, and bouquet garni. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the cloves and add to the pot.
Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender. Remove the bouquet garni before pureeing the soup. I favor an immersion blender over a food processor for this, because I like just of bit of texture in the soup.
Return soup to pot, add paprika and salt and pepper to taste and stir in the lemon juice.
Garnish with chopped Italian parsley and serve with a dollop of good plain yogurt. Serves 6. 
I quadrupled the recipe for Soup Night. I should have made more.

We're doing it again next month.  I recently gave an unused twin mattress to a neighbor and he traded me a big bag of beautiful firm storage onions, grown just a block away. So February's menu will feature French onion soup.

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