Cooking show host and food writer Jo Pratt has a new collection of vegetarian recipes out that will revitalize your repertoire and impress your guests. From the traditional to the brand-new, there’s a recipe in here for every lover of vegetables at the table. This cauliflower cream cheese soup is a velvety addition to any dinner table.
This is a contender for my favorite recipe in the book – just looking at it makes me want to polish off the whole bowl. It’s mellow and cheesy and so lovely eaten on its own, but the meltingly soft, sticky, sweet roast onions piled in the middle really make it something super special. It’s very difficult to stop at just one bowl, which is why I’ve made the recipe big enough for eight portions.
Optional: Add 2 1/2 ounces diced pancetta to the onions halfway through their cooking time and serve both on top of the finished soup.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large cauliflower, broken into small florets (you need about 1 pound 12 ounces florets)
- 1 baking potato, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups milk
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 1/3 cups cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon English mustard
- Flaked sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon nigella seeds, to serve
- 4 large onions, peeled and each cut into 8
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for serving
- 4 tablespoons butter
- handful thyme sprigs
For the soup
Heat the oven to 400°F.
Put the onion wedges in a large roasting tray. Trickle over the oil, dot with butter and scatter around the thyme sprigs. Bake in the oven for 30–45 minutes until the onions are golden and sticky, turning and basting in the butter a few times.
To make the soup, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook until it is softened but not coloured. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, cauliflower and potato. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and leave to cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure the vegetables don’t brown, and if they are sticking add a splash of water to the pan.
Remove the lid and pour in the milk and the stock. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower and potato are tender and beginning to break up.
Put the cream cheese in a bowl with the mustard and beat with a wooden spoon to give you a whipped cream consistency. Remove the soup from the heat and take out the bay leaf. Stir in around two thirds of the cream cheese and mustard. Cool slightly and then blitz in a food processor or blender until velvety smooth. You’ll probably have to do this in two batches. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve the soup hot with a dollop of the whipped cream cheese, some sweet sticky onions piled in the middle, a sprinkle of nigella seeds and a drizzle of olive oil.