Baby, it's cold outside and there’s only one thing that would make this day perfect – soup! With an assortment of curious ingredients – cauliflower, chicken stock, thyme, and pancetta – this actually turned out to be a hearty, rustic, awesome-tasting soup.
Roasted Cauliflower Soup
Serves 3 to 4
1 head of cauliflower, trimmed and chopped into florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea or kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
several thyme sprigs, whole, plus 2 teaspoons minced thyme leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled, plus 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ounce pancetta, finely diced
1/2 cup minced shallot
1 quart chicken stock
sour cream, optional
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On the lined baking sheet, toss the florets with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the whole thyme sprigs and garlic cloves to the pan. Roast for 30 minutes, or until the florets are tender and browned in spots. Discard the thyme sprigs.
While the cauliflower roasts, heat a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta to the warmed pot and cook until the pancetta is crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta from the pot and reserve. In the pancetta drippings, sauté the minced shallot, garlic and thyme leaves for several minutes, until the shallot has softened. Add the stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
Add the roasted cauliflower and garlic to the stock and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the soup from heat and, in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream (if desired) and the reserved pancetta.