Roasted Cauliflower, Cumin & Coconut Milk Soup by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan
October 30, 2020
I taught classic French cuisine at the famed and now defunct Cordon Bleu Cooking School. In our curriculum was the classic ‘Madame du Barry’ Cauliflower Soup. Her special relationship with Louis XV accorded her sufficient status to have a dish named after her.
The classic cauliflower soup involves several French cooking techniques, ample prep time and generous amounts of butter and cream. The result is a pure white, rich, creamy and delicious soup.
My version is centuries more modern. It’s vegan, gluten-free, has fewer ingredients and derives its depth of flavor from pre-roasting & caramelizing the cauliflower and the addition of the earthy spices: cumin & coriander. Coconut milk adds dairy-free richness.
And best of all, it’s quick cooking (comparatively)!
- Prep: 15 mins
- Cook: 30 mins
- Yields: Approximately 6 cups/4 servings
1 head of cauliflower, about 2 pounds
4-6 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil, divided
Fresh ground black pepper
¾ cup diced white, Vidalia or Spanish onion
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced or grated
3 cups water
1 can (13.5 ounces) full-fat coconut milk
½ teaspoon fresh lime juice (or more to your taste)
Optional: sliced scallions or parsley for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Peel the outer leaves of the cauliflower. Cut the head of cauliflower into even-sized flowerets, about 2-inches each. Add all the pieces to a large bowl and drizzle the sides of the bowl with 3 tablespoons of oil and toss the cut cauliflower and coat thoroughly with oil. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and toss again to combine. Spread the prepared cauliflower on a sheet pan and roast for 15-20 minutes until browned and tender to the point of a knife. Remove pan from oven and set aside.
While the cauliflower pieces are roasting, finely dice the onion. Heat a 3-quart sauce pan over low heat and add 2 tablespoons oil. Add the diced onions and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine, cover the pot and turn heat to low. ‘Sweat the onions’; that is cook the onions, in a covered pot, over low heat for about 6-8 minutes or until translucent. Add the roasted cauliflower to the onions. Stir to combine. Cover the pot again and turn heat to low and ‘sweat’ the onions and cauliflower together to combine and release their juices. Cook for about 8-10 minutes.
Remove cover and stir in the fresh ginger, the ground cumin and ground coriander. Stir to combine. Add 3 cups of water to the pot along with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes. Gently reduce the volume by about 25%. Add the coconut milk and continue to simmer gently for another 10 minutes.
Puree soup until smooth. A hand-held immersion or regular blender will provide a smoother soup than the food processor. As always, if using a traditional blender, be careful when blending hot liquids.
Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking: salt, fresh pepper, lime juice.
Garnish each portion with chopped parsley or scallion greens.
Cooking Time (some overlap with ‘Prep Time’): 30 minutes
Total Prep and Cooking Time: 40-50 minutes