Pretty fun looking, huh? This velvety bowl of love came out loads better than I’d anticipated – so of course now I’m kicking myself for always winging it and never writing things down. Hopefully what I can pull out of my brain will get a pretty close approximation of what I managed to achieve. I’m wondering if maybe I should just wear a GoPro helmet when I’m tinkering in the kitchen, so at least I have a chance at remembering when I do something particularly noteworthy. Anyway, for this recipe I used both a stick blender and a standard blender (we have a BlendTec) – you’re going to want something that has a lot of horsepower to get a really smooth cashew cream. I’ll try to add in non-vegan alternatives as we go…
Cauliflower, cut into maybe 1-inch-ish chunks or just split the florets apart
Vegetable broth or bouillon [You could also use chicken stock if you prefer]
Cashews, raw [Look down through the recipe – if you haven’t got a carafe blender and you don’t need this to be vegan, go ahead and sub this out for sour cream or creme fraiche.]
Fresh lemons (bottled lemon juice is fine too)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
First, put a handful or so (I think I used about a cup by volume?) of cashews into the carafe of your blender. Just barely cover them with boiling water. Let that soak while you get the soup started.
Get your soup pot on the stove and heat up a couple good-sized glugs of oil on medium-ish heat. You want enough to just coat the bottom of the pot. Once that’s kind of shimmery, chuck in your cauliflower.
Adjust your heat and let that cauliflower go until it’s got some nice browning going on. We’re kind of trying to approximate the caramelization you’d get from roasting the cauliflower, but I was too lazy for that extra step. If you’re not as lazy as I am, by all means go ahead and actually roast your cauliflower in the oven!
Once you’ve got some good browning, add enough stock (or its equivalent in bouillon and water) to just cover the cauliflower. Now’s also a good time to shake in some turmeric and cumin, and do an initial seasoning of salt and pepper.
Drop the heat to just slightly above a simmer and let that go until the cauliflower is completely soft – like, you can break it apart with a wooden spoon.
While your soup is soupifying, go ahead and blend those cashews. Don’t bother draining the water, just blend that whole thing up. You may actually need to add a bit more water – you’re looking for something about the consistency of sour cream. There should be no grittiness left in the blender once you’re done. [Author’s note: add some lemon juice and salt and pepper and congratulations, you’ve got a batch of cashew cream, which is a fantastic vegan substitute for sour cream!]
Still with me? Okay, so now would be the time to use your stick blender and puree your mushy cauliflower soup! The smoother you get it, the more velvety your soup will be.
Add your cashew puree to your soup puree and heat all that through. Add in some nutmeg and lemon to really brighten up the flavor. (I used both the zest and the juice, but if you haven’t got a microplane or a grater, just the juice is fine.)
And there you have it! Hopefully what you’ve got in front of you now is a perfectly smooth, rich, silky, thick soup that’s got all that lovely sweetness and earthiness from the cauliflower, and just a little smokiness from the cumin.
Feel free to add some hot sauce for a little extra kick – this would also be great with some fresh parsley or fresh dill chucked on top. Enjoy with some nice bread for dipping. Yum Yum!