Relishing Winter // Vegan Cauliflower Soup

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This weather calls for soup! I love it that we've gotten a taste (though I'm about done with it) of winter.... coats, sweaters, cauliflower...

But seriously, this vegan cauliflower soup has a creamy depth of flavor that is hard to find in dairy-less soups. And, other than spewing it all over my kitchen because I didn't hold down the blender lid securely, it's easy enough.

And I figure this recipe from bon appétit magazine using the French cooking technique à l'étouffée should be used in Cajun South Louisiana on an all-vegetable meal. And while my boys tolerated it - my good friends who are foodies loved it. So hop to Rienzi Market .... or anywhere right now, really.... and grab the in-season cauliflower. I'm stocking up ... not just for roasting this year... but for SOUP!

Cauliflower-Cashew Soup With Crispy Buckwheat
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. ½ cup olive oil, divided
  2. 4 large shallots, thinly sliced
  3. 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  4. 2 bay leaves
  5. 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  6. Kosher salt
  7. ½ cup dry white wine
  8. 1 large head of cauliflower, cored, cut into small florets, stem chopped, divided
  9. ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  10. ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp. cashews
  11. 6 cups (or more) vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  12. Freshly ground black pepper
  13. 2 tablespoons buckwheat groats
  14. 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  15. ½ teaspoon paprika
Instructions
  1. Heat ¼ cup oil in a large heavy pot over medium. Add shallots, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme; season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are translucent, 6–8 minutes.
  2. Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Set ¾ cup cauliflower aside; add the rest to pot along with cayenne and ¾ cup cashews; season with salt.
  3. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and cook, shaking pot occasionally, until cauliflower is fork-tender and vegetables have released all their water, 20–25 minutes (check occasionally to make sure vegetables are not browning; reduce heat if they are).
  4. Add stock and season with salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until cauliflower is falling apart, 20–25 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  5. Meanwhile, finely chop reserved ¾ cup cauliflower and remaining 2 Tbsp. cashews. Heat remaining ¼ cup oil in a small skillet over medium. Add cauliflower, cashews, and buckwheat; season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until cauliflower and cashews are golden brown and buckwheat is browned and crisp, 5–8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and paprika. Let cool slightly.
  6. Working in batches if needed, purée soup in a blender until very smooth. Return to pot and reheat over medium-low, stirring and adding more stock to thin if needed (soup should be the consistency of heavy cream). Taste and season soup again if needed.
  7. Serve soup topped with toasted cauliflower-buckwheat mixture.
Notes
  1. Do Ahead: Soup can be made 2 days ahead (or 1 month if frozen). Let cool; transfer to airtight containers and chill.
Finding Fresh http://finding-fresh.com/wordpress/
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