Here’s a reblog of Christmas Tree Soup from 2010. I always serve this as a first course on Christmas night!
Here’s a lovely soup that tastes every bit as wonderful as it looks. It’s a great first course for Christmas Eve dinner or even a nice lunch or simple dinner. Make it whenever you need to warm up this winter. Did I mention this incredibly rich soup is also healthy? No, I’ll keep that a secret. Enjoy!
1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
1 bulb of garlic
1 T butter
1 onion, diced
1 rib of celery, diced
1 large spring of rosemary, plus smaller ones for garnish
1 bay leaf
2 c vegetable stock
1 can evaporated skim milk
juice of 1/2 a lemon
star anise for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with foil. Spread the cauliflower florets over the sheet. Drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil over it. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and touch of white pepper. Toss everything so it is well-coated, then spread them all out again.
2. Cut off just the top of your bulb of garlic. Place it in a small scrap of foil. Drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt. Wrap it all up and put it on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, turn the cauliflower, then bake for 15-20 minutes more. Don’t worry if you see golden spots. This tastes great and will not effect the creamy color of your soup. Trust me.
3. As soon as it’s cool enough to handle (be brave!) unwrap the garlic. Gently squeeze out that amazing paste, not wasting a drop.
4. Heat a soup pot over a medium flame. Add 1 T each, butter and olive oil. Add onions and a pinch of sea salt. Saute for 2 minutes. Add celery and another pinch of sea salt. Saute for another 2 minutes, until softened. Add garlic, cauliflower, large sprig of rosemary, bay leaf and vegetable stock and a pinch of white pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add milk and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove bay leaf and rosemary.
4. Transfer soup to a blender and puree until smooth. You may have to do this in batches. Leave room for steam to escape by removing the small circle on the lid and pressing a kitchen towel on top. Taste and adjust seasonings one more time. If soup is too thick, add more stock. If it is too thin, heat it up again and let it reduce. If you want, you can strain soup to perfection. Personally, I love it as is.
5. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and place a spring of rosemary and a star anise in each bowl. Bask in the adulation of your guests. Enjoy!