Yes, I know. ANOTHER soup! But it’s the season, and soups are one of my favorite (and economically advantageous) ways to warm up and enjoy something home-cooked in the winter months. It was especially cold here in France over the last couple of weeks when the weather brought us our first snow of the year that actually stuck, so soup was definitely on the menu (potato, leek and fried almond, turnip leek and sweet potato, roasted carrot and parsnip with coconut milk, etc., etc.). This is a fabulously basic soup. It’s hearty, filling and satisfying. You can eat it as thick or as thin as you like but I promise it’ll fill you up. I’m not sure what it is about this soup. I never regarded cauliflower as extremely filling but this is one hearty soup. It’s also very simple and something about respecting the cooking times and different steps takes it to another level, and I don’t recommend skimping.
The original recipe was spotted on Food52 in one of their newsletters. It was labeled as genius cauliflower soup. It only contained like four ingredients, which I suppose was part of the genius of it. I’ll admit that even after reading the comments and hearing scores of folks say “Don’t change a thing, it’s so perfect as is!” I couldn’t help but add two of my all-time favorite ingredients: cumin and lardons. If you don’t eat meat however, or if you’re a traditionalist, I urge you to try the original recipe. I promise I will one of these days, but for now my snow-hating self wants to break the rules and make this soup perfectly genius for me. Either way, make sure you try this one, you won’t regret it.
Creamy cauliflower, cumin and lardon soup
Adapted from Food52
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
1 large head of cauliflower (stems removed)
2 T olive oil
1 C lardons or bacon cut into small pieces
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 t cumin
5-6 C of water
Salt and pepper
Heat your soup pot of choice over medium-high heat. Add the lardons or bacon and let them cook for about 5 minutes, until they have a nice golden-brown color and have released their fat. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the olive oil to the mix, pausing to let it warm up before adding your onion and letting it sweat for about 10 minutes, stirring often so it doesn’t brown too much. Add the cumin and stir to combine before dumping in your cauliflower florets with about a 1/2 C of water. Season with salt and pepper and turn the heat back up to medium. Cover and let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes undisturbed.
Add the rest of your water now and let the soup simmer uncovered for 20 minutes longer. The cauliflower should be well-done by now so you can start puréeing it. Working in batches if needed, blend the soup thoroughly and then let it sit for another 20 minutes before reheating it to eat. The soup will thicken during this period. Even if you want a thinner soup, I still recommend following this step as I’m pretty sure this is when the flavors intensify. Once thickened, reheat the soup, thinning it with 1/2 C to 2 C water (I found a nice, thin soup delightful, while Jérôme preferred a thicker one…) and adjust the seasoning before serving.