I got coerced to join my friend in renting a table at a 'mom to mom' sale this weekend where dozens of of us will set up in a school cafeteria to sell used baby and kid stuff to other parents. I spent the better part of yesterday and today collecting, sorting and pricing out the things my girls have outgrown. Actually I had to price the items TWICE after I realized I was inflating the price of everything due to emotional value. I don't consider myself an emotional person. I have a lot of compassion but tears and freak-outs, not so much. My husband tease that me crying is like squeezing blood out of a rock. I prefer to think of it as being rational and even-keeled ha! What I'm trying to say is that even for a rational and even-keeled person (moi), letting go of your children's onesies and infant sleepers and tiny shoes is acknowledging they are growing up and there's no stopping it. I've never been to one of these events but I have been promised it will be a zoo.
Good luck to me and now on to soup business...
I think everyone can agree that a hearty soup is a perfect dinner to sit down to on a crisp Autumn evening. If I am making soup as a main course, I like it quite thick to give it substance. And I don't mean by way of flour-and-butter roux which I reserve for sauces and gravies. I load it up with tons of veggies. Keep it healthy right? If you are serving it as an appetizer or alongside a sandwich or salad, you can thin it out with less cauliflower or more broth or a combo of the two - it isn't rocket science! A bit of coconut milk towards the end add unmistakable flavor and gives the soup a creamier finish without the use of dairy.
I like to add stuff on top of soups for textural contrast. Here I topped the soup with butternut squash that's been tossed in breadcrumbs before roasting for more heft and a bit of crunch (kinda sorta like squash 'crouton' if you will...) and crispy sage leaves because 'tis the season for all things squash and sage right now!
MAKE AHEAD: Soup freezes really well. Pour into glass jars and leave sufficient head room for expansion as the liquid freezes - I fill my mason jars just below where the sides begin to curve inward. Defrost overnight or if in a hurry, submerge in a pot of cold (not warm or hot!) water on the counter for a few hours to speed up the process - water transfers heat much faster than air.
Cauliflower + Corn Soup with Squash 'Croutons' + Crispy Sage
Recipe serves 4 (makes about 9 cups of soup)
For the soup:
1 small head of cauliflower, washed and cut into small florets (about 9-10 cups)
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
1/2 large white onion, cut into 1" chunks
1 garlic clove, rough chopped
4 C chicken broth, homemade or store-bought no / low sodium (sub vegetable stock to keep it vegan)
3 C corn kernels, fresh off the cob or frozen is great too (I like non-GMO frozen corn)
1/3 C coconut milk, plus more for drizzling if desired
For the roasted butternut squash:
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes (about 1 lb)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C breadcrumbs (I use this one)
For the crispy sage:
1 bunch fresh sage leaves (about 10-12 leaves), washed, plucked and patted dry
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
coarse salt for sprinkling
1. Preheat a large pot (that can hold ~ 10C of liquid) over medium heat. Add a bit of oil and toss in the onion and carrot pieces. Add garlic. Saute everything for a few minutes to soften them. Then add in cauliflower florets. Continue to saute for about 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is just softened and no longer crunchy.
2. Add the chicken broth, cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to low and allow it to simmer for 15-20 minutes, giving it a stir once or twice when you think of it.
3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375f. Toss the butternut squash cubes in the oil and salt and spread them in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs all over the top. Roast for 35-45 minutes, or whenever the squash is tender - pinch one with your fingers or pop one in your mouth to figure it out.
4. Once the soup has simmered the 15-20 minutes, take it off heat and remove the lid to allow the heat to disperse a few minutes before pureeing it using an immersion blender or transferring it into a blender, until a very smooth consistency. Be careful not to splash yourself with hot soup! Return to stove and add the corn kernels and the 1/3 C of coconut milk. As soon as it returns to a gentle simmer and is heated through, soup is done!
5. Just before serving, heat the olive oil over medium and fry the sage leaves in batches. It should take about 10 seconds per side - look for curling up of the edges and slight rippling all over the leaves. Be careful not to burn them. Place on paper towel and give it a generous sprinkling of coarse salt.
6. To serve, ladle soup into bowl. Drizzle coconut milk over the top and add a large spoonful of the roasted squash & breadcrumb mixture, and garnish with 2-3 fried sage leaves. A drizzle of your best olive oil and a crack of fresh ground pepper would be a lovely too.