We have mushrooms and cauliflower, what’s for dinner?
In the refrigerator we had cauliflower and mushrooms and that was about it. I wanted to roast the cauliflower, but had no idea how I was going to add mushrooms and onions to come up with a satisfying dish. That’s when Gabe suggested I make a soup. With the cold weather and limited ingredients that sounded like a great idea. Since we have an abundance of dried peppers, it’s no surprise that he also suggested that I add chile powder to the recipe.
The four main ingredients listed below make a creamy, warming winter soup.
A little about each of the main ingredients
Vegetable stock: In my post, STOCKING UP FOR THE NEW YEAR, I share a recipe to make your own stock. I was able to take a four cup portion of homemade vegetable stock from the freezer, defrost it in a pot on the stove, and have a nice base for my soup. Store bought stock can also be used.
Mushrooms: Sautéing the onions and the mushrooms until they are nice and brown adds a meaty flavor to the soup. I used a little stock when I need to deglaze the pan.
Roasted cauliflower: I like to toss the florets in vegetable oil with nutritional yeast, coarse salt, and pepper before roasting them. The nutritional yeast browns up nicely and gives the roasted cauliflower a buttery flavor. I have to guard the roasted cauliflower from marauders stalking through the kitchen, stealing bites. Even the dog begs when I remove the finished cauliflower from the oven (of course I must “test” the cauliflower as I am the cook) . I like to start by prepping the cauliflower and getting it in the oven. Then I prep the other ingredients and since the cauliflower takes a while to roast. Using a high power blender or food processor, blending half of the cauliflower and mushroom/onion mixture with vegetable stock makes a nice creamy soup, without the dairy.
Smoked Chile powder: A nice addition to this soup especially in the winter. If you like it spicy it will warm you from the inside out.
What I Learned About Chile Powder
1. The first time I made this soup I used dried peppers of four varieties, one of which was a smoked chile, the morita chile. I removed the stems and most of the seeds and finely ground them in my spice grinder. The yield was a little over 2 tablespoons of powder…way too much! Yup, I used all of it! The soup was edible and we really enjoyed it, but unless you want to “knock your socks” off I suggest trying ½-1 teaspoon to start.
2. The second time I made this soup I tried to make it a little milder. I used two dried morita chile peppers (similar to chipotle peppers) and since I couldn’t really get all the seeds (hot part) out I just ground them right up. This resulted in the opposite of mild! This time I had about a tablespoon of powder and the soup was even spicier. The soup was good, but it definitely needed a warning label and a first place, blue ribbon from a spicy food eating contest.
3.Once the mushroom and onions browned I add the chili powder coating them well and let the spice and vegetables cook for another two minutes. This woke up the ground chili overwhelming my senses, in fact, half an hour later when Gabe arrived home the first thing he did was let out a choking cough. It was as if I had tried to ward off an intruder with pepper spray. That will keep everyone out of the kitchen and away from the roasted cauliflower.
For those reasons might I suggest using a SMALL amount of mild pre-ground chili powder or use smoked paprika if you don’t want all the heat of the chile pepper. Lemon juice and fresh chopped cilantro helped to round out the spice of the soup.
Smokey Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Soup Recipe
For the roasted Cauliflower
1 large head of cauliflower, separated into small, bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
For the soup base
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
5 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
5 crimini mushrooms, sliced
½-1 tsp chipotle chile powder or smoked paprika
4 cups of Vegetable stock, heated
Pre heat oven to 425F
Place the cauliflower pieces in a roasting pan. Pout the oil over the cauliflower and sprinkle with nutritional yeast. Toss the mixture to coat the cauliflower. Place in the pre-heated 425F oven and roast for 40 minutes, checking and stirring the cauliflower every 10 minutes so that the cauliflower brown evenly. Remove the cauliflower and set aside.
While the cauliflower is roasting chop the onion, slice the mushrooms, and heat the vegetable stock. In a large pan or pot sauté the onion in oil until it becomes translucent. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms and onions have browned. Use a tablespoon of vegetable broth to deglaze the pan.
Add the chile powder or paprika and stir to coat the mushrooms and onions. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add two cups of the heated vegetable broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover for 10 minutes.
Add half of the simmered mushroom and onion mixture and half of the roasted cauliflower to the blender and blend until smooth being sure to let the steam escape from the blender. Pour the blended mixture into the pan with the remaining mushrooms and onions. Add the remaining 2 cups of vegetable stock and the remaining roasted cauliflower pieces to the pan. Stir well, incorporating the vegetable stock.
To serve I topped the soup with chopped fresh cilantro and the juice of a lemon wedge.