I’ve been creating this soup in my mind for months – turning around different ingredients in my head over and over to try and imagine the perfect combination. It all started when I picked up a nasty cold back in October. All I wanted to eat was basic, homemade chicken broth seasoned simply with garlic and sea salt, but I couldn’t find chicken backs (my most prized broth-making unit) to save my life!! I asked at farmer’s markets and meat counters all over town and all they could do was shrug and offer me drumsticks. Being grumpy and finicky (as one often is when their head is pounding and full of snot), I would hear none of it. No drumsticks for me, thank you! I’d prefer to wallow in self-pity, continuing to subsist on croissants and Thera Flu and wondering aloud why I feel so terrible.
By the time my cold finally left my body weeks later, I had envisioned what I imagine to be the most perfect, healing soup – a cold’s worst enemy. This soup is cauliflower-based, so it’s full of cruciferous vegetable-y goodness. It also uses generous quantities of onion, garlic, and turmeric, which are not only delicious, but full of potentially healing and anti-inflammatory compounds. Ideally this soup would be made with homemade chicken bone broth, but good boxed broth will do in a pinch. Finish this soup with brightly flavored fresh dill for even more healing power.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Turmeric, Garlic, and Dill
3 Tbsp. ghee or butter
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 large heads cauliflower, broken into florets (about 8 C. total)
3 large cloves garlic, sliced
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. PLUS 2 tsp. ground turmeric
2 tsp. ground mustard powder
1 bay leaf
6 C. chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
½ C. heavy cream
3 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
S & P to taste
Heat the butter in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Once the butter is hot, add the onion and all but three cups of the cauliflower and sauté until the onion is translucent and the cauliflower is softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more until very fragrant. Lastly, add the tomato paste, turmeric, and ground mustard, allowing the spices to toast and the tomato to caramelize for about 2 – 3 minutes, stirring often.
Once your spices are nicely toasted, add the bay leaf and all of the broth to the pot and stir to pick up any bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the pan. Increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the soup until the cauliflower is very tender, 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the soup to cool slightly (stirring often will help).
Once the soup has cooled for 15-20 minutes, puree it in a blender in 2 or 3 batches until smooth. I recommend filling the blender no more than 2/3 of the way, holding a dishtowel tightly over the lid of the blender, and starting on the lowest speed when you puree anything hot.
Once all of the soup has been pureed, return it to the same pot and place it over low heat. Break or chop your remaining 3 cups of cauliflower into small, bite-sized pieces and return to the pot. Cover the pot and cook the soup over low heat until the added cauliflower is soft, about 15-20 minutes.
Once the cauliflower is cooked to your liking, remove the soup from the heat, and stir in the cream and fresh dill. Season the soup to taste with plenty of salt and pepper and serve immediately.