Roasted Cauliflower Soup

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Nothing beats a hot bowl of soup on a blustery fall day! Okay, so maybe the temperature has crept up into the 80s again, but that didn’t stop me from making this creamy bowl of deliciousness! I stumbled upon this recipe in the newspaper the other day and decided I had to try it. I’ve been wanting to make a pureed vegetable soup for a while now, and I’m so glad I finally did! I was a tad skeptical about the flavor at first (I thought it would be very bland), but the pepper and thyme added a huge flavor boost!

*I made a couple adjustments to the recipe, but I kept the original recipe below and made notes on my changes. Make sure you REALLY puree the cauliflower. If you don’t, your soup will have the texture of grits, which I don’t really like!

Roasted Cauliflower Soup (source)
Serves eight

2 heads cauliflower (about 4½ pounds total)
¼ cup olive oil (*I used spray olive oil instead)
Kosher salt
1 quart chicken broth (or more for a thinner soup), divided (*I used vegetable stock)
1 pint half-and-half (*I used fat free)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, plus 8 sprigs to garnish
Pinch of white pepper (*I used black pepper)
10 slices apple wood smoked bacon (or 3 slices country ham), minced and cooked (*I omitted bacon from my soup)

Heat the oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with cooking parchment, or with foil lightly misted with cooking spray. Use a paring knife to carefully cut out and discard the core of each head of cauliflower, then cut the heads into large florets.

Place the florets in a large bowl and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons of salt, tossing to coat. Arrange the florets in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, then use tongs to flip the florets, then roast for another 30 minutes, or until the florets are deeply caramelized and golden.

Transfer the florets to a blender and add 2 cups of the broth. Purée, then add the half-and-half and purée for another three minutes, or until completely smooth. The purée should be very thick. With the blender running, add the remaining broth, the thyme and white pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.

The soup can be transferred to a saucepan and gently heated, or refrigerated overnight before reheating and serving. The flavor is best when it is allowed to rest overnight. When ready to serve, garnish each bowl with a bit of cooked bacon and a sprig of fresh thyme.

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