Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean Soup with Porcini



Once again, that time of year has arrived - the time when there isn't much outside to forage, and I need to turn to my pantry for wild foods. Thankfully, as always, I did a good job of putting up food throughout the growing season. I think you'd be shocked to see just how much food is in my pantry. I've got wild plants stuffed into every corner, some dried, some canned, some frozen, and others pickled. My most prized pantry staple are my dried porcini (Boletus edulis) mushrooms. They are one of the most flavorful foods I've ever tasted, and can punch up even the most bland foods.

When I first tried making this soup, I had envisioned something creamy and white. I used steamed cauliflower, and got the beautiful soup I had imagined. It really was nice in contrast to the flavorful mushrooms, but I desired more flavor in the soup itself. I decided to roast the cauliflower to concentrate its flavor and add a bit of allium-filled vadouvan spice for seasoning. The soup was no longer a gorgeous snowy white, but it sure did taste good.

Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean Soup with Porcini


1 head of cauliflower
14 oz. can of white canellini beans, drained
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp. vadouvan spice
salt
black pepper
olive oil
water
dried porcini
breadcrumbs

1. Cut the cauliflower into even-sized pieces (it doesn't really matter how big, because they will be pureed later). Toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then distribute them evenly over a baking sheets. Roast the cauliflower in a 425˚ (F) oven until the pieces can easily be pierced with a knife, and start to take on touches of brown, at least 25 minutes.

2. As soon as the roasted cauliflower pieces come out of the oven, sprinkle them with the vadouvin.

3. In a heavy-bottomed pot, saute the onions in olive oil and a few pinches of salt until they are translucent. Dump in the beans and roasted cauliflower, then cover everything with cold water. The water level should be about an inch above the contents of the pot.

4. Cook the soup ingredients together over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.

5. In the meantime, break up some dried porcini mushrooms into small pieces and place them into the smallest bowl possible to accommodate them. If you're like me, and wildcraft your own porcini mushrooms, use a big handful, as this topping is very tasty. If you have to buy your porcini, use as many as you can afford. Cover the porcini mushroom pieces with the least amount of boiling water that will cover them. Let sit for 5 min.

6. Heat a small saute pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the porcini bits and their soaking water. Keep stirring until all of the water has evaporated, then add a drizzle of olive oil and a big pinch of salt to the pan. Continue cooking the mushrooms for a minute or two, then add an equal amount of breadcrumbs. Cook further, constantly stirring, until both the mushrooms and the breadcrumbs take on a bit of brown. Set the mushroom breadcrumb topping aside.

7. Puree the cauliflower and bean soup with an immersion blender. If the pureed soup looks too thick, add more water until it is a velvety consistency. Taste it. Does it need more salt or pepper? If so, add those now. Return the soup to the heat, and let it bubble gently for five minutes longer.

8. Serve the finished soup with the mushroom breadcrumb topping and an extra drizzle of good olive oil, if you have it.


Comments

  1. I've never heard of this spice, but now I've got to try it. This soup looks gorg!

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    Replies
    1. Vadouvan is very onion-y, a little bitter, a little smokey, a little spicy. Great stuff. Good on all sorts of food :)

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  2. Great idea to use the mushrooms as a topping. Very economical use of a pricey ingredient. Unless you can pick your own which you seem to be able to do endlessly.

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    Replies
    1. Welllll, I don't know about endlessly, but I do put a lot of effort into it ;)

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  3. I bought some of that last summer and I don't think I ever knew how to use it. Time to go dig it out of the cupboard and try this soup recipe. I really like that this one uses quick beans.

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  4. So luxurious. I used to eat bean soup all the time when I was in France. There's a lot to be said for what can be accomplished with the humble bean.

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    Replies
    1. I'm a big fan of beans as well. Every time a big snow storm rolls into town, I get excited because I have an excuse to make my favorite bean soup.

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  5. I'm sure I'd eat more healthy soups if you were cooking them for me LOL.

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  6. Mmm, that's sounds fabulous. What a cool idea. I don't do much with cauliflower.

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  7. New visitor from Twitter. Beautiful place you've got here.

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  8. I've just run out of vadouvan spice. What might work well instead?

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    Replies
    1. There are a lot of different spices in a vadouvan blend. I think if I were to make a quick substitute, I'd add more onions and a touch of garlic to the recipe, and dust the cauliflower with a mix of curry powder and fenugreek.

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    2. I will make this today I have a cauliflower ready to roast and the weather her in Nevada City Ca is just the stormy day called for a wonderful soup! I am digging your fresh ideas! xxx

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  9. I think this is a perfect soup for the cold weather. I hope the version I make turns out as well !


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