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Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Traditions: Warm-Spiced Roasted Cauliflower Soup

A word to the wise: if you offer to host Thanksgiving for your family for one year... you will never ever be able to give it back.

The first few years we were married we alternated every other year at our parents' houses for Thanksgiving. One year at my folks, the next at his. However, in 1999, I offered to host since our house was halfway between both of theirs. Believe me when I say that neither mom ever looked back.

That first year I was so excited! It was the first year I would be cooking the whole meal by myself. I wouldn't let anyone bring anything (I've since wised up on that front) and spent hours, no... days, perusing cookbooks and cooking magazines to formulate the perfect menu.

Somewhere in all my menu planning I came across a little blurb that caught my imagination. I think it was in Bon Appetit magazine, but I can't be sure since it was so long ago. There was an article on favorite Thanksgiving traditions, and one of the responders talked about how they always greeted guests at the door with teacups of soup. No spoons, just a nice soup to sip and enjoy as you entered their home. I was instantly charmed.

Beginning that first year, I have always served a soup as a starter for Thanksgiving. Not at the table, of course, but out in the living room where we are all relaxed and chatting. Over the years I have allowed spoons to sneak in if the guests want them, but in deference to the spirit of that original tradition, I always serve a blended soup.

This year's soup was particularly successful, if I do say so myself. Spending the past year obsessed with soup has served me well.

Warm-Spiced Roasted Cauliflower Soup
serves 8

1 head cauliflower, core removed, florets separated into ping-pong ball sized portions
5 T. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 t. kosher salt
1 yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
1 stalk celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic, pressed through a garlic press
1 t. grated fresh ginger
1 t. turmeric
1/2 t. cumin
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
6 c. chicken broth
sour cream for garnish

Toss cauliflower with 3T. olive oil and the salt and roast in oven at 425°F for 1 hour. Rotate the florets every 15 minutes so that you get a nice even carmelization on them.

Set cauliflower aside and heat remaining olive oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and sautee until soft and tender, about 6-8 minutes. Add in carrots and celery and continue to sautee until vegetables soften, another 6-8 minutes. Stir in ginger, garlic, and spices. Sautee for an additional minute until the spices are distributed over the vegetables and the ginger and garlic are fragrant. Add in the reserved cauliflower and the chicken broth. Bring the soup to a simmer and let it simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or so to bring everything together. Cool slightly and blend well with an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender. Garnish with a sour cream drizzle.

I made this on Tuesday, and served on Thanksgiving Thursday. I actually thought it benefitted for resting those two days... so make at least one day ahead if you can!  


  1. Can't wait to try this! Think I will make early in the day and then blend (I've tried blending hot soup before....not pleasant when hot soup comes out the top onto your fingers)! Sounds yummy Carianna!

  2. Hope you like it, Pam! There weren't any leftovers this year, so I didn't get to freeze any of this for my freezer stash. Will have to have another go at it!

  3. Made this with some orange cauliflower I bought in the pre-Thanksgiving frenzy that never would have made it to the table otherwise.
    FANTASTIC flavors, I added a few garlic cloves to the roasting pan simply because I live for roasted garlic. I always forget what a creamy consistency cauliflower has on its own without the aid of cream. This one is officially in the fall/winter repertoire! Thanks Soupawoman!!

  4. Melodie, I bet it was gorgeous with orange cauliflower! Roasted garlic would add a nice nuttiness, too. Thanks for stopping by!