Deliciously thick and warming soup made with sweet roasted parsnips, nutty-tasting cauliflower florets and slivers of browned almonds. A Dairy-free recipe.
When boiled or steamed, cauliflower is the mildest-tasting member of the brassica family, tipping dangerously to the bland. This can count in its favour when bland mush is required to masquerade as a contraband carbohydrate (think pureed cauliflower used as a cheese substitute in white sauces, or very finely chopped cauliflower fried and served as rice). However, subject cauliflower to high heat by frying or roasting and it is transformed, developing a nutty, earthy flavour and a crunchy texture. The almonds in this soup emphasise those nutty notes, while the parsnips add a sweet spiciness.
- 5 parsnips (700g), peeled and chopped into equal-sized pieces (chop roughly in half widthways, keeping the nose end whole and chopping the bulbous end into 3 or 4 pieces)
- 1 small head of cauliflower (500g), core removed and chopped into florets
- 1/3 cup (30g) flaked almonds
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil (I used lard)
- 2 banana shallots (130g), peeled and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 freshly ground black pepper
- 1 litre (1 3/4 pints) of homemade chicken stock (use vegetable stock for a vegan option)
- toasted flaked almonds
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/355°F.
- Arrange the parsnips in a single layer in a roasting tray, giving them plenty of room to roast and caramelise. Drizzle with half the cooking oil and toss until evenly coated. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and add the cauliflower and flaked almonds. Toss until evenly coated in oil. Return to the oven for another 30-45 minutes, turning half-way through. Remove when browned and fork-tender.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining cooking oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the shallots and garlic and sweat, uncovered, for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned.
- Add the stock, salt and pepper, and tip in the roasted parsnip, cauliflower and almond mix. Transfer to a blender in batches, and blitz to the smooth puree.
- Transfer the soup back to the saucepan and bring to the boil. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and serve hot, garnished with toasted flaked almonds.