Monday, December 9, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper and Cauliflower Soup

Winter is rapidly approaching, complete with icy winds and cold, cold temperatures. There’s nothing I like more than to snuggle on the couch with a blanket and a mug of soup on a cold rainy day in the winter (or cold, snowy day). Unfortunately, I have a 9-5 job which makes productivity on such gloomy days pretty poor since I would rather be under the covers.

This looks pretty great to me
Instead of dwelling on my lost youth of freedom and snuggles, I have turned to the interwebs to develop a repertoire of soups. I made a couple soups last year but since the discovery of an immersion blender, soups are a favorite. This soup was picked off of Pinterest for its appearance as tomato soup, a  personal fav and grilled cheese partner. Of course this post is entitled Roasted Red Pepper and Cauliflower soup, not tomato. This is why we don’t judge books, or food, by their covers.

When I was a kid, my mom would make us eat our vegetables but not just the acceptable broccoli and carrots but the ever-disgusting brussel sprouts and cauliflower. Our distaste was met with “you’ll love them when you’re older” to which I replied “great, feed them to me when I’m older”. This just in: I still do not like brussel sprouts or cauliflower. However, I’m an adult and can give cauliflower a try when it is immersed in red peppers and other flavorings.
The dreaded cauliflower 
While I cringed throughout the whole chopping and touching of the cauliflower, I made it through. But for real, doesn't it look like some alien plant related to a Venus fly trap or that poison flower from Jumanji? It’s a thing.

The red peppers are roasted in the oven and then steamed to loosen the skins. FYI: the skins did not come off and the soup still tasted great. Cauliflower is roasted (in the same pan because I’m lazy) while the peppers are steaming. Just before the cauliflower is done, cook the onions in a giant pot (big enough for all the soup) until your eyes are running and the onions are translucent. Combine the peppers, cauliflower and spices into the pot and pour the broth over all ingredients. And don’t forget the goat cheese! I tried to shred a giant block of goat cheese but eventually just dropped a blob of it in there. I only used half of the goat cheese block because I can mix the rest with some avocado and make a spread for toast to go with the soup! Allow to cook until vegetables are done and soup looks nice and hot. I let it cook and then simmer for about 30 minutes.
Getting closer to soup!

Remove the pot from heat for a little bit, just to cool it off before immersion blending it (or regular blending it in batches). I was preparing this a day ahead but if you’re eating it straight away, you don’t need to let it cool for as long. Immersion blending is exciting but can be splashy so boiling hot soup to the hands is never fun. I know this for a fact.
Ready for blending!

The good news is, you can’t taste the cauliflower. The more good news is this was a delicious and healthy alternative to—something else dinner-like. I might be addicted to soup now. There’s something satisfying about knowing everything that goes into your meal. Down to the last grain of pepper! Plus I have way too much fun mixing the soup with the immersion blender, making sure it’s perfectly smooth. The phrase ‘double, double toil and trouble’ comes to mind—frequently. This soup pairs well with some toasted baguette for dipping, in case you were still hungry. Have a good day, readers: I’m off to snuggle with this soup—and my cat. 

  • 4 red bell peppers, halved 
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into bite-size pieces (florets)
  • 1 white onion, chopped 
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil (used twice in 1 tablespoon increments)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of Thyme 
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes (more for a spicier soup)
  • 4 cups of broth (chicken or vegetable, depends on your preference) 
  • 1 teaspoon of Paprika
  • 4 oz or less of goat cheese 
  1. Cut red peppers in half and place face-down on a baking sheet. Place in the oven set to broiler (I don't have a broiler function so just set it to 300 degrees). Allow peppers to cook for about 10 minutes or until skins begin to blister. Remove from the oven and place in a sealed container to steam for 20 minutes while the cauliflower cooks.
  2. Mix chopped cauliflower with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and any seasonings desired (I used black pepper). Place florets on the baking sheet and cook in the oven (set now to 400 degrees) for 20-30 minutes. 
  3. While the peppers and cauliflower are cooking, chop the onion and place in the large pot with the other tablespoon of olive oil. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes or until onions are tender.
  4. Add thyme, red pepper flakes and chopped garlic in with the onions. Allow flavors to seep together until you can smell them mixed with the onions.
  5. Attempt to remove the skins from the peppers by pinching where the skin appears blistered. If this doesn't work, no worries. Just go ahead and chop up the peppers and add to the pot with onion. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and add that to the pot as well.
  6. Pour broth over vegetables and add the paprika and goat cheese. I only used 2 ounces of goat cheese but more will increase the creaminess of the soup.
  7. Allow to cook until vegetables appear tender and the cheese has melted.
  8. Remove from heat, if desired, to cool until blending. If you are eating this right away, use an immersion blender to blend the soup to the desired consistency or use a regular blender and pour the soup into the blender in batches. 
  9. Gather soup into an over-sized mug and locate nearest sofa with blanket. Curl up and enjoy! 

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