When everyone is going crazy with the first signs of winter, a bowl of soup is the first thing I’d like to dip my face into. Smooth and warm, and full of good-for-you-vitamins, soup goes through our bodies like the kindest manna from heaven. I mean, there’s a reason why most people would say their grandmother’s chicken soup is the best cure for a cold before they vouch for that NeoCitran, amiright? So as a homage to the “soupiest… week on the internet”, I present to you my cure for the winter blues: a warming, fragrant spiced cauliflower soup with caramelized onions and raisins. Because you can’t be bored with a bowl of cumin-laced soup in your lap.
I recently read one of my favourite bloggers refer to the first week of January as “the soupiest, salad-iest week on the internet.” Though I don’t know if that’s empirically true, judging by the amount of mouth-watering, delicious, healthy soups I’ve been seeing around the blogosphere, and the horrible flu pandemic that’s sweeping across some areas of North America, I have to say that I agree.
But as soup happens to be one of my favourite things to eat, EVER, I can’t say I mind. And as you’re visiting a blog dedicated to Russian and Jewish recipes, you must feel the same way. In fact, I’m pretty sure the Russian diet is made up of 60 per cent soup (the remaining 40 per cent is somehow split between meat, dairy and mayonnaise). Which is probably good, because today’s recipe is soup.
If you’re looking for a soup with lots of cream, meat, and mass, this baby ain’t for you. It won’t slow you down in the midst of a busy day by making you take a nap. Instead, this spiced cauliflower soup will warm up your body and soothe your soul with toasted Middle Eastern flavours like cumin and coriander. It will provide you with a dose of healthy, flu-fighting vitamins from lemon and garlic. It will fill you up in the best way possible from a whole head of cauliflower. And will brighten up your day with a generous sprinkle of sweet, plump, golden raisins.
In the end, you will be left holding a full-bodied bowl of the most comforting and fragrant spiced cauliflower soup ever, topped with caramelized onions and sweet golden raisins. And you will be so much the happier for it.
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Middle Eastern spiced cauliflower soup with caramelized onions and raisins
- 2 medium-sized onions
- 4 TBs vegetable oil
- 2 TBs cumin seeds + 1 TB ground cumin
- 1 TB coriander seeds
- 3 tsp paprika
- 6 garlic cloves
- 2 heads of cauliflower
- 1 Bay leaf
- 6 cups water
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 TBs salt or more, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Dried golden raisins
Mince garlic finely. Chop onion into bite-size pieces (no need to chop too finely).
Heat a heavy bottomed pot (preferably a dutch oven) to medium heat. Add 2 TBs of oil. Add cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and 2 tsps of paprika, and let toast for a minute, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and continue sauteing until garlic turns golden, 2 more minutes.
Add 2 more TBs of oil and chopped onion, and lower heat to low-medium. Cook the onion until it caramelizes, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. When done cooking, set aside 3/4 cup of the onion-spice mixture.
Meanwhile, cut up cauliflower roughly (remove the bottom of the stem, but no need to discard the stem - it will be fine in the soup). When onions have finished cooking, add cauliflower along with 8 cups of water and a bay leaf to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and continue simmering for 20 minutes.
Blend soup completely with an immersion blender or in a standing blender (if doing the latter, let soup cool first!). Add 1 TB of ground cumin and 2 last tsps of paprika, lemon juice and salt and pepper to the soup. Taste, and correct seasonings as needed.
When serving, top each bowl with a tablespoon of caramelized onions and a handful of golden raisins.