Cauliflower Soup with Mustard Seeds and Crispy Onions

After supper on Saturday, my brother asked me if a vegan could have eaten the meal. And the truth is MOSTLY YES but ACTUALLY NO, but easily TOTALLY YES. (Learning moment for me!!) I originally made this soup with chicken stock, but a vegan could substitute the chicken stock with vegetable stock -- or even water if there was no stock on hand. Soups are super versatile in that modifications and substitutions are pretty much 1:1, unlike baking. 

I made this recipe a few days ahead of showtime, as it keeps in the refrigerator so well. And if you were wondering, this recipe is 10x easier than the swan - and 10x more nutritious. You could even make it more simple by eliminating the garnish (steps 4 & 7). But personally, I'm on a mustard seed kick right now and think they're so pretty :)

RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (1 tablespoon for mustard seeds, 1 tablespoon for shallots)
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 2 heads of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 quarts of (chicken or vegetable) stock
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Crispy Onions (like these)

Directions:

  1. In a stock pot, combine shallots, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 pinches of salt. Over medium heat, mix until the shallots begin to brown. 
  2. Put the cauliflower over the shallots and add in enough stock that 3/4 of the veggies are immersed. Raise the heat and cover for 10 minutes. 
  3. Add more stock so the that the vegetables are totally immersed. Lower the heat to a simmer, and leave it alone for 20 minutes or until the cauliflower feels tender.
  4. In the meantime: combine mustard seeds and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a flying pan. Set over a medium low flame until the mustard seeds begin to brown, occasionally mixing with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and set aside. 
  5. Once the cauliflower is tender, use a stick blender to purée the soup. (If you do not have a stick blender, blend it in a food processor or blender in batches.)
  6. Add pepper to taste. (2 teaspoons? Be generous. Flavor!!)
  7. To plate this, fill a bowl with the puréed cauliflower, sprinkle some crispy onions in the middle. And using a spoon, drizzle the mustard seeds around half the circumference of the bowl. 

Serves 8. 1 hour total time.