This recipe wasn’t meant to be delicious. That was an accident.
What it was meant to be was simple, speedy, and vegetarian. You see, it was Vegetarian Week. Arne and I had competing meetings that would prevent us from having dinner together, and my first thought was just to grab a bite out or eat something from the freezer. But we’ve eaten out a lot lately, and I had a fridge full of CSA veggies that needed eating. So I decided to throw something together. A simple potato and cauliflower soup might not be too exciting, but it required minimal work and would be tasty enough.
|Orange or “cheddar” cauliflower is beautiful and delicious.|
As I sauteed the vegetables, though, I thought surely I could spice it up pretty easily. Indian food often features cauliflower and potatoes together, so I reached for the curry powder. I put in some curry, and then some more curry, and some extra cumin – cauliflower and potatoes both love cumin – but it still wasn’t doing it for me. It needed something else.
And then I remembered one of my favorite simple curries, adapted from Mark Bittman. (And not on the blog yet; soon, I promise.) The finishing touches of that very simple curry are a spritz of lime and a handful of cilantro, both of which I happened to have on hand. I threw them in – along with a drizzle of cream – and pow! The soup came alive! All the flavors in the curry danced together, grounded by the earthy sweetness of the winter vegetables. Each bite was better than the last. I was really sorry that I had to rush through my bowlful to get to that meeting.
Please don’t be put off by the not-so-great photos – as I mentioned, I had a meeting to get to, and I hadn’t expected this soup to be worth blogging. Instead it turned out to be one of the best things I’ve made recently! Sometimes I love surprises.
Curried Winter Vegetable Soup
Serves: 4 Time: 30 to 40 minutes
Saute 1/2 a large yellow onion and 1 medium carrot, both roughly chopped, in 1 tablespoon oil until starting to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 2 medium yellow potatoes (about 1 pound total), peeled and diced, and 1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and roughly chopped. Saute another 2 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons mild or medium curry powder, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Pour in 3 cups water and bring to a boil. (If you happen to have some carrot juice around, you can sub it in for up to a cup of the water.) Reduce heat to a strong simmer or low boil and cook 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Turn off heat and let cool for a few minutes. Ladle most of the solids and as much liquid as possible into a blender container. Leave enough vegetable chunks to give the soup texture and interest, about a cup or two. Blend until quite smooth, adding water if necessary to get the blades moving well, and return to the pot.
Stir in the juice of 1/2 lime and 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup cream, if desired. (Greek yogurt would also be great, but take care not to let it curdle.) Taste for seasoning – add salt if needed, more curry powder, more lime, perhaps a pinch of cayenne for spicy heat. If it’s too thick, thin with a little more water. Warm over medium-low until heated through, and serve garnished with a sprig of cilantro or a dollop of Greek yogurt.