Tag Archives: soup

Cauliflower Soup with Parmesan Dumplings

This is going to be a love it or hate it recipe! Cauliflower and parmesan are both strong flavours on their own but bring them together and you get a deep roasted richness with a kick from the black pepper. I have never made cauliflower soup before, but I have eaten the vegetable many times in my mother’s Indian food and my father’s Italian food. Back in December I was inspired by the Hairy Bikers to bring the British cauliflower back into fashion. You may have seen my Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry recipe, but at the time I also vowed to try and make my own soup with the beautiful, cheap and underrated vegetable.

Like most of my recipes, this totally reflects my cooking style. This is a cheap, nutritious and easy recipe which can be made in advance. You can also easily adapt this recipe if you don’t like certain ingredients. For example, feel free to use much less black pepper if you’re not a fan. Use pecorino or gruyère for the dumplings if you don’t like parmesan. *If you prefer a softer dumpling, use white bread; personally I prefer brown.

This makes a delicious starter or light meal.

Cauliflower Soup with Parmesan Dumplings

Serves: 4-6 as a starter
Takes: 1 hr 15 mins

Ingredients:

1 Cauliflower (medium-large), washed and cut up into florets
Leaves of 1 cauliflower, sliced
1 white onion, peeled and diced
1leek, washed and sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
700 ml vegetable stock (or boiling water and 1 stock cube)
3 tbsps creme fraiche
Pinch of salt
Knob of butter
Olive oil

For the dumplings:
2 slices brown bread*
25g grated parmesan
1/2 the cauliflower leaves, sliced
1 tbsp dried parsley (or small bunch fresh)
1 egg

1. Preheat the oven to 150′. Place the cauliflower florets, garlic and whole black peppercorns on an oven tray and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in the middle of the oven for a total of 45 minutes.

2. I recommend that you prepare everything else after you put the cauliflower in the oven. This shortens the cooking time. So – prepare the other ingredients.

3. In a large saucepan, warm up 2 tbsp olive oil and a knob of butter. When it is warm and clear, add the diced onion. Softly cook for about 5 minutes, then add the leek.

4. When the onion and leek have both softened, add the vegetable stock and half the cauliflower leaves. Stir the pot, and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Put your slices of bread in the toaster or oven to dry out. Then, place them in your food processor with the other half of the cauliflower leaves, parmesan, parsley, and egg. Whizz it all up!

6. By now the cauliflower should have roasted for about 45 minutes. Check that it is cooked and softened. If not, leave it in the oven for 10 more minutes. If it is, you can now take it out the oven and add the cauliflower and garlic to the soup pot. Stir the soup and put the lid on. Save the peppercorns.

7. Grind the roasted peppercorns with your mortar and pestle and add a pinch to the soup and a pinch to the dumpling mixture.

8. Roll the dumpling mixture into little balls. You should be able to make 10-12. Lightly grease a tray and then cook the dumplings in the oven for 15 minutes.

9. Mash down, or whizz up your soup! Whatever machine you have to smooth it out will be fine! Stir in 3 dollops of creme fraiche and a pinch of salt to taste!

10. Serve hot with a swirl of creme fraiche and 2-3 dumplings per person.

Enjoy! I would love to hear your feedback if you try it!

Tip: If you like it spicy, add a pinch of smoked paprika to the soup. 

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Roasted Red Pepper and Cherry Tomato Soup

This morning on my walk back from the gym I was reminded why Finsbury Park is awesome. On my route I pass a grocery stall where a friendly man sells fruit and vegetables in £1 quantity bowls. Amongst other things, I bought 4 red peppers for only £1, a bargain compared to the supermarkets.

So walking back with my heaving blue plastic bags I got the idea into my head that I wanted to make roasted red pepper soup and I’ve been excited all day planning it. Although this is a fairly simply recipe, the roasting takes some time in order to get the best flavours from the peppers and tomatoes. If you’re really rushed for time you could add them to the pot raw and boil them, but I hope I can persuade you that the roasting is worth the wait.

I have a love/hate relationship with cooked peppers, so this is quite an unusual meal for me to cook. I wouldn’t normally eat them except when my parents make peperonata (an Italian dish of sliced roasted peppers with olive oil, garlic, and sometimes olives and capers; also known as peperoni in Italy). However, over a year ago I went to a sweet little tea house with my friend Sophie and we had red pepper soup which was absolutely delicious. I have no idea what they put it in but it was scrumptious. Since then, I don’t think I’ve eaten it again and certainly never made it until now, but I was so excited to try.

The smell of peppers and tomatoes roasting in the oven is absolutely delicious. I was tapping my feet and staring into the oven for a large part of the afternoon!

Roasted Red Pepper and Cherry Tomato Soup

Start to finish time: 2.5 hours
Serves: 4

Ingredients

5 red peppers
15 cherry tomatoes (on the vine is best)
2 red onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
Knob of butter
2 tbsp tomato puree
500ml vegetable stock/500ml water and 1 stock cube
handful of basil leaves
A few parsley stalks, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried tarragon*
1/2 tsp paprika*
75ml cream
salt & pepper

* optional

1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees. In a large tray, add the olive oil, garlic cloves and the peppers, whole and washed. Roast for about an hour in the middle of the oven, checking once or twice and turning the peppers.

2. Add the cherry tomatoes and bay leaves and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for another half an hour. Then, add the basil and turn the tomatoes and peppers.

3. In a large pot, heat the butter and a drizzle of olive oil. Add the red onion and cook on a low heat with the lid on until soft. Add everything from the oven tray into the pot, except the bay leaves and peppers. Put the lid on and let it cook slowly while you prepare the peppers. Don’t worry about all the liquid from the roasting tray, the cherry tomatoes release a lot of water in the oven which adds a beautiful flavour.

4. Pull off the pepper stalks and discard. Slice each pepper down the middle and scoop out all the seeds. Then, peel off the pepper skins. Add the soft cooked peppers to the pot and stir in. Add the stock, chopped parsley, tomato puree and dried herbs. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

5. Turn off the heat. Blend the soup, and then pass through a sieve to get rid of any rogue pepper seeds and to smooth. Return to the pot and add the cream, salt and pepper (to taste). You should now have a rich orange coloured creamy and smooth soup which tastes absolutely divine.

Serve with your favourite bread as a starter or main. It should last a few days in the fridge.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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