Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cauliflower and Leek Soup with Toasted Hazelnuts (Vegan, Gluten Free)

When I started foraging for dinner ingredients this afternoon, I found a few autumn vegetables for this soup.  Cooler weather always has me craving snuggly socks, a toasty blanket and a soup that just warms me up. The great thing about cauliflower, beside the lovely potato like taste and all the vitamins, is that the soup get a creamy thick consistence without using cream, or any other kind of thickener. By also adding lemon to the soup you get this fresh taste. Top with toasted hazelnuts and  you get that warm nutty crunch that makes this a hearty winters' soup. Purée in a blender for the smoothest, creamiest results. Make the soup up to a day ahead, and store in the refrigerator. Reheat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.


Recipe courtesy of Chef Peter Berley, author of The Flexitarian Table


SERVINGS 8-10

INGREDIENTS

Sea salt
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
1-2 head of cauliflower (3 pounds in total), separated into florets
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 medium or 3 large leeks — tough green parts discarded, the remainder thinly sliced and thoroughly rinsed
1-2 quarts vegetable stock, preferably homemade
1/2 cup peeled hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
Finely chopped fresh parsley

Directions

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and the lemon juice. Add the cauliflower and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a heavy soup pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the leeks and stir to coat, season with salt and cook until very tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed to prevent browning. Add the cauliflower and stock and bring to a simmer. With a slotted spoon transfer the leeks and cauliflower to a blender or food processor and puree with some of the stock until smooth. Return the puree to the pot.

3. In a toaster oven, bake at 350F the hazelnuts for about 8 minutes or until fragrant.

4. Bring the soup to a simmer, season with salt, white pepper and nutmeg. Serve the soup garnished with the hazelnuts and parsley.
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