Vancouver is known for its temperate climes but occasionally, we do get some winter weather and we’re about to go into the “freezer” with some sub-zero (Celsius) temperatures. There was a definite chill in the air on my morning walk so I thought it was perfect day to make a warming soup.
This has been a favourite recipe since I first saw it on The Missing Ingredient Facebook page earlier this year, and I’ve tweaked it a little bit with ingredients I’ve had on hand. I added garlic to the recipe as I love the flavour as well as it being good for you. For a bit more zest and healthy benefits, finely grated ginger can be added just before being taken off the heat.
1 large head of cauliflower, broken into small florets, stems chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil¹
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced or through a garlic press
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste²
Zest from 1 small lemon³
1½ cups chicken stock¤
1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk∞
½ teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the cauliflower with olive oil. Spread the cauliflower in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Use two baking sheets if necessary to ensure there is room around the pieces so the cauliflower doesn’t steam. Roast until golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, sweat the onion with sesame oil and a pinch of salt until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and sauté for about a minute then the curry paste and lemon zest. and stir to incorporate.
Add all of the roasted cauliflower stems and half of the florets to the pot. Add the chicken stock, coconut milk and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the soup is warmed through. Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar.
If you have an immersion blender, use it to blend until smooth. Or alternatively, ladle several batches carefully into a blender ensuring there is enough liquid to ensure a smooth purée. Remember to hold the blender lid down with a dishcloth to ensure it doesn’t pop off due to the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Top each with ¼ of the cauliflower florets, serve immediately. Additional toppings are bacon bits, roasted pumpkin seeds or pine nuts, and fried onions. Leftovers freeze really well.
¹ The original recipe calls for just olive oil but I love sesame oil and it complements the Thai flavour.
² Depending on the brand of curry paste, you may need to adjust this amount to ensure you get some heat and flavour. I’ve amped up the flavour using Sriracha sauce as well.
³ If you don’t have lemons on hand, you can use lemon or lime juice to add brightness.
¤ The original recipe uses vegetable stock which would make it vegetarian but I prefer using reduced or no sodium chicken stock for more flavour.
∞ I have made this soup with both regular and lower fat coconut milk with good results.