As I was rehabilitating and organizing my freezer stash of frozen vegetables - I came across a large bag of frozen cauliflower. Hmmmm. Been there awhile. What to do?
The pandemic has forced my hand when it comes to keeping food on hand. First there were the shortages and lines waiting to get in for socially-distanced shopping. Then, there's the anxiety over having to mingle with hordes of other grocery shoppers. Finally, not everything seems to be available for on-line ordering and home delivery. Shucks. What's a girl to do?
I've become a big believer in frozen vegetables, where before it's was merely about having leftovers, frozen peas, veggie burgers and similar in the freezer. I truly think most frozen vegetables are on a par with fresh. There are a few exceptions, like frozen 'greens' (spinach and such) - which are good, if used in things like soups. But, cauliflower seems to work in all manner of applications. Steamed with Buffalo-style Sauce or a cheezy Cashew-Nooch sauce? Yes! But, the vegetable really shines as a soup.
We're talkin' super simple, here. Nothing to see, folks. Well, actually, there's everything to see since I had my epiphany about putting frozen vegetables into see-thru bags. I'd gotten real tired of pawing through 'mystery bags' of frozen vegetables, trying to see what I had and how much I had. Read more about that here.
Defrost/thaw that big ol' bag of Cauliflower, and then dump it into a food processor. This is going to save you some time later.
Process just until the big chunks have. been reduced to a very rough, coarse meal. This will help the cauliflower 'cook' more thoroughly in the initial stages, and you won't have to work as hard later on with the immersion blender.
Now, it's time to prep. Chop up the onions. Get out the spices and herbs that you'll use, and measure everything out.
If you've learned nothing else from me, I hope that what you take away is knowing the importance of setting up your Mis en Place prior to cooking any dish. It's a large part of the success in following any recipe. You can't focus the necessary attention to crafting a dish while at the same time trying to find/measure/wrangle other ingredients.
Sauté your onions for 3 to 5 minutes, over medium heat, using just enough water or broth to keep them from sticking.
Add the processed cauliflower, and continue to cook with the onions for another 4 to 6 minutes or until the cauliflower becomes al dente.
Now, you can add the broth, tofu, plant milk, seasonings - except for the Nutmeg. You add that at the very end. And, go slow with the Nutmeg. A little is a lot for some people.
Cover the pot and cook the soup mixture for about 10 minutes, or until the bits of cauliflower are absolutely soft and tender. Taste it. Adjust seasonings. Get your immersion blender handy.
I couldn't live without my Immersion hand blender. The newer ones out there today come with all manner of nifty accessories that I had to buy separately when I got mine.
Now, they have wire whips for making whipped creme, and frothers for fancy drinks.
After you've turned the soup into something more creamy, now is the time to taste. Again. Adjust seasonings. And, if everything seems good to go, let the soup simmer for 20 - 30 minutes, covered, over the lowest heat possible. Don't boil it.
Now, is the time to grate some Nutmeg. Just use a microplane grater. Watch your fingertips. I keep a whole nutmeg in a small spice jar in my spice rack. I use grated nutmeg in creamy white sauces and gravies, soups like this one, and occasionally with potatoes. Nutmeg is a lovely, fragrant seed (the outer shell or coat that is called the Mace) from an Indonesian evergreen tree. It's a quintessential - slightly sweet - autumn spice that pairs well with many desserts as well as savory dishes.
Nutmeg has an interesting history going clear back to the first century, and was one of the spices most sought after by Europeans from the East Indies. In fact, it was actually used as a 'currency'. Now, we have Bitcoin. Sigh.
A few passes over the top of the pot, into the soup, might be just enough for you. With my Scandinavian roots, I love the flavor, and so use several passes.
Never being one to leave 'well enough alone', I crafted a Spinach sauce to top this soup with. You'll find the recipe for that here. BTW, the Spinach Sauce makes a wonderful drizzle over steamed cauliflower, potatoes and other vegetables, or rice. It can be amazing stirred into warm pasta.
You can see, below, how I whipped up a jar of the Spinach Sauce, and stirred it into the warm soup ... and added a few drops of hot sauce. Never too much of a good thing?
This soup will freeze well.
Hey, if you like or make this dish, would you mind posting the recipe to Yummly? I'd really appreciate that. The Yummly icon is on the right side of this webpage. Oh, and saving to Pinterest would also be great! Each photo should have a Pinterest icon in the upper left corner! Thanks!
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