Although today's 70-plus degree temperatures may make you think otherwise, we are fully entrenched in fall. Fall is my favorite season, in part because of the many cozy food traditions I eagerly anticipate and embrace every year. While I eat salads nearly constantly in the summer, I eat soups all fall. It could be because both of these dishes are ways to pack tons of veggies into your diet or that they easily embrace the season's best produce, but they are absolutely indispensable to my diet. Like so many recipes I find, I came across this while trying to figure out how best to utilize an overly enthusiastic farmers' market haul. I was hardly able to believe my luck when I found a recipe containing the three veggies I was trying to use up - potatoes, cauliflower, and kale - with the added bonus of using some of the can of chipotle chiles I opened for Smoky Chipotle Black Bean Chili. Chipotle chiles in adobo are another really high-mileage ingredient - just a couple chiles give the soup a nice smokiness with just a nice level of heat (disclaimer : if you like it spicy, you can definitely add more chipotles or adobo sauce, but proceed with caution). The pureed cauliflower mixture gives the soup silkiness, contrasted nicely by rustic, hearty chunks of potato and tender kale. This soup can be a meal in itself, but a side salad and nice chunk of bread with butter certainly would be welcome for those with heartier appetites.
Smoky Charred Cauliflower and Potato Soup with Kale
from Serious Eats
makes about 3 quarts, serving 6
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 small head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 medium onion, finely sliced (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane grater
2 chipotle chiles packed in adobo sauce, chopped fine, with 1 tablespoon sauce from can
2 quarts water
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 2-inch chunks
1/2 pound kale leaves, thick stems removed, leaves roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over high heat until shimmering. Add cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally until well browned and lightly charred on all sides, about 10 minutes total, reducing heat as necessary if smoking cauliflower starts to burn or oil smokes too heavily.
2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and chipotles and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add half of water and bring to a boil. Simmer until cauliflower is completely tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Using a hand blender or standing blender, puree cauliflower/onion/chipotle mixture until smooth. Return to pot. Add remaining water, potatoes, kale, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook until potato is easily smashed and incorporated into broth, about 30 minutes.
4. Remove bay leaves and mash potatoes with a large spoon or potato masher. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, drizzling with extra-virgin olive oil.