Thursday, November 7, 2013

portuguese caldo verde with cauliflower

Soup is a funny thing. I mean, I love a good soup but it's hard for me to get really excited about making it. I'm not sure why this is true, but it is. But every once in a while, a soup recipe will catch my eye, which is what happened yesterday when I was browsing Food52 instead of working on my Legal Ethics research paper. This soup won "Best Recipe for Autumn Soup" and when I looked through the ingredients, I was instantly drawn in by the fact that a) it called for smoked paprika and b) it didn't use any dairy or potatoes. Instead, the creaminess of the soup is created by cauliflower, which is roasted with spices and then whizzed up with chicken stock to create a supremely rich and flavorful base. 

It really is incredibly easy to put together, assuming you have an immersion blender. I would not want to have to pour a vat of boiling chicken broth and cauliflower florets into a Cuisinart or standing blender. Once the cauliflower and broth are blended, all that's left is to add sliced linguisa sausage, a bunch of chard, and a squeeze of lemon to the mix and let it simmer for a bit. Then serve it up with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of smoked paprika. We ate it with torn off pieces of an Acme baguette, useful for sopping. It was extremely hearty without being heavy- Daniel wanted more sausage in the mix but I thought the amount in the recipe was perfect. I wish I'd chopped the chard into smaller pieces, since I ended up with something of a chard nest in my soup bowl that was difficult to eat, but other than that, I was very pleased. Even more so eating it for lunch today- I love that soups always seem to improve on with time. This is a soup worth getting excited about.

Portuguese Caldo Verde, recipe adapted from Food52
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for roasting
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
8 cups chicken stock
1/2 pound linguisa sausage, sliced
1 bunch swiss chard, de-ribbed and chopped into pieces the size of a spinach leaf
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced

Preheat oven to 450F. Toss cauliflower florets with cumin, smoked paprika, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Remove from oven and deglaze roasting pan with chicken stock. Set aside.

In a dutch oven or soup pot, saute the onion in olive oil over medium-high heat until translucent. Add garlic and pepper flakes and saute for 30 seconds before adding the cauliflower and remainder of the chicken stock. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Remove soup from heat and puree with an immersion blender.

Return soup to low heat, adding the sausage and cooking for 10 minutes. Then add the chard and chopped parsley and cook another 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat, add the lemon juice and cilantro. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of smoked paprika. 

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