I don’t want to say that I’m replacing potatoes with cauliflower in this recipe because cauliflower in place of other things is mostly bullshit. I may even go a step further to say that cauliflower is mostly bullshit. It depends on my mood. Low carb diets seem to be centered around using cauliflower in place of everything. Cauliflower “mashed potatoes”, cauliflower “rice”, etc. I’m not crazy about these things, as it takes a lot to mask the distinct cauliflower taste; to pretend it’s something it’s not.
While I’d never say that cauliflower could take the place of a potato or of a mild-flavoured vessel like rice to have with curry, I have been dabbling in the world of low-carb cauliflower recipes. Last year it was cauliflower pizza crusts, this year it’s been cauliflower “mac and cheese”, and more recently cauliflower “risotto”. All of which have pretty bold flavours to help with the masking. The bold flavour often being cheese, which is cool with me, but I need variety.
I was going through the Autumn 2014 issue of the LCBO Food and Drink magazine recently (the one good Ontario thing), making pervy noises at the glossy food photos, wine pairings, and the carefully composed recipe section in the back, when I noticed a section dedicated to garlic that featured a garlic potato soup.
I decided to use this recipe as inspiration rather than a full swap for a garlic cauliflower soup. Garlic tends to fix most problems, you see, so I had no doubt the cauliflower could be masked. I took the original recipe, upped the garlic by 100%, swapped and added some herbs in and used some white wine in place of some of the stock and called it a day.
It was amazing the first night and even better the next, as soup leftovers tend to be.
- 1 2-3 lb head of cauliflower, broken into florets
- 2 bulbs of garlic, left whole, outside paper peeled off
- 2 large onions, diced
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tbsp thyme
- 2 tbsp rosemary
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced with a knife, not a press
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- a few sprigs of parsley
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss cauliflower florets with olive oil, salt, and pepper and place onto a baking sheet. Wrap the garlic bulbs in tin foil and place in the oven with the cauliflower. Roast for about one hour or until cauliflower is tender and turning golden brown.
Unwrap the garlic bulbs and let cool a bit before squeezing out of paper to make a paste.
Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large stock pot and season onions with salt and pepper. Cook on medium for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the cauliflower, roasted garlic paste, thyme, rosemary, cayenne, and cook a few minutes until fragrant. Pour in the stock and wine, deglaze the pot, and bring to boil. Lower the temperature and simmer, covered, for another 20 minutes.
Blend the soup in batches or use an immersion blender. I still don’t have an immersion blender, by the way.
Return to the pot, stir in the cream, and bring the heat back up again to simmer, minding the bottom of the pot so the cream doesn’t burn.
Optional garlic garnish:
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the minced garlic and stir until brown and crispy; about 5 minutes. It’s important to use a knife for mincing, as it becomes more of a mash in a press and doesn’t crisp up quite as nicely.
Top bowls with a big sprinkle of the crispy garlic and a bit of parsley.
Serves 4 – 6.