Cauliflower is an amazingly versatile vegetable. You can stir-fry it, bake it, roast it and puree it. Its subtle flavour lends itself well to spices and cheeses, and even comes in a choice of colours.
Winter’s a great time to make the most of cauliflower; they are abundant and cheap (~$2 for a large head). I prefer to roast my cauliflower florets before cooking them for soup, as I find the caramelisation brings a new depth of flavour.
This is my lazy method by using stock powder, but for the more enterprising, fresh stock (vegetable or chicken) is always better. This freezes well, and I always make enough for a few lunches.
Ingredients (serves 6):
1 whole white cauliflower
2 cloves garlic
30g butter, cubed
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 sprigs of thyme
1 ½ tsp vegetable stock powder (I prefer Marigold, available from Nosh Food Market)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a large baking tray with cooking paper. Remove the leaves from the cauliflower head; I leave the small leaves. Cut into large florets and place on baking tray. Slice the onion in large pieces, and remove the skin from the garlic cloves. Strip the thyme leaves and sprinkle over the vegetables. Dot with the butter cubes and toss with olive oil.
Roast for ~40 minutes, turn once the surface looks lightly browned, around 25 minutes in.
Place all in a heavy-bottom pot with 1L boiling water and the vegetable stock. Simmer for 30 minutes until cauliflower is soft, and florets fall apart. Pulverize using a hand blender to your desired smoothness.
Add the cream, and season to taste. (With soups, you typically have to put in more salt than you think you need). Serve with some toasted sourdough and enjoy!