Ah yes, it’s that time of year where we resolve to swap the excesses of Christmas eating for regimes that are altogether more virtuous. Quite how many of us manage to stick to those resolutions for any length of time is another matter entirely (and far be it from me to judge – I have left a trail of failed resolutions in my wake over the years).
Still, I can do my little bit and, this year, it starts with this white winter vegetable soup.
Potato, Celeriac and Cauliflower Soup
Mostly, it’s simplicity and comfort that I crave food-wise at this time of year and this soup fits that bill. A little bit of onion, equal parts potato, celeriac and cauliflower and finished with a hit of warming roasted garlic and toasted cumin seeds. There’s really not much else required.
- 1 small head of garlic
- olive oil, for roasting the garlic
- vegetable oil for frying
- butter for frying
- 75g onion, finely chopped
- 300g potatoes, peeled and cut into approx. 0.5cm cubes
- 300g celeriac, peeled and cut into approx. 0.5cm cubes
- 800ml water or vegetable stock (or use chicken stock if you prefer)
- 300g cauliflower, cut into thin florets
- 0.5 tsp cumin seeds
- 1.5 tsp lemon juice or more to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
- chopped flat leaf parsley to garnish
You’ll also need:
- A blender or food processor to blend the soup (a hand-held immersion blender is ideal)
- Preheat your oven to 180C
- Remove the outer papery skin from the head of garlic and slice off the top to expose the garlic cloves. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top of the garlic, wrap in foil and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the cloves have softened completely.
- While the garlic is roasting, place a large, heavy saucepan over a medium heat. When hot, add 1-2 tsp each vegetable oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the chopped onion and a pinch of salt. Stir and fry for 4-5 minutes until softened.
- Add the chopped potato and celeriac and stir briefly, then add the water or stock along with about 0.75 tsp salt (or less if you’re using stock that is already salted).
- Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped cauliflower, bring back to a boil and simmer for a further 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- While the soup is simmering, place a small frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds and toast for 3-4 minutes until fragrant, shaking the pan frequently.
- When the vegetables are cooked, remove the soup from the heat and blend until reasonably smooth. Remove 5-6 cloves of the roasted garlic from their skins and blend into the soup (adding more to taste if desired).
- Add lemon juice, freshly ground black pepper and additional salt if the soup needs it and stir in the toasted cumin seeds. The soup will be fairly thick, so use additional boiling water to thin to your desired consistency.
- Serve with chopped flat leaf parsley and perhaps some toast spread with some of the remaining roasted garlic.
- You could toss some breadcrumbs in a little olive oil and toast them in the oven for about 5 minutes while the garlic is roasting and use as a crunchy garnish or, alternatively, scatter the soup with some toasted flaked almonds or chopped roasted cashew nuts.
- Soup for 3-4