This soup could easily be converted to vegetarian (even vegan) by just skipping the smoked sausage and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Roasting the cauliflower gives such a rich flavor it could stand on it's own. Since the broth is thickened with the roasted cauliflower, you get a nice creamy soup with no dairy (unless you want to add dairy).
1 head of cauliflower
garlic cloves to taste (I use between 2-4)
1 package of smoked turkey sausage (13 oz), cut into bite sized pieces
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
chicken broth (32 oz)
cream fraiche or sour cream (optional)
Clean and core the cauliflower. I usually keep them fairly intact, so the florets are about 2" or so in size (smaller pieces will roast faster than larger pieces). Toss the cut cauliflower and garlic cloves in olive oil so they are very lightly coated (I usually put about a 1 tablespoon on a foil lined baking sheet and just rub the pieces around in them). Roast in a 350° oven until lightly roasted. The garlic will be a deep caramel color and the tips of the cauliflower will brown. Depending on how large the cauliflower florets are, it can take 30-40 minutes (this is a visual/doneness thing, you want the cauliflower to be cooked, but still a little firm). Remove from oven and let cool slightly for easier handling.
|oooh, pretty roasted cauliflower.|
Meanwhile, brown the smoked sausage in a non-stick Dutch oven over medium high heat until just starting to brown. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the onions are soft. Add celery and carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes. (I don't use any oil at this point, there's enough fat in the turkey sausage and using the non-stick pan makes it not necessary. If you use a traditional pan, you might need to add a little oil to keep the veggies from sticking).
Take half of the cauliflower and one or two garlic cloves (or more... this is to taste. If you like garlic, use more, if not a fan, use less) and put in a blender with about 1 cup of the chicken broth to puree. Add more broth if necessary (it's all headed to the pot anyway).
Chop (or tear) the remaining cauliflower florets into smaller florets (bite sized pieces) and add to the pot. Add the pureed cauliflower and the remaining chicken broth. Simmer until all the veggies are cooked thru.
If you are feeling decedent, a little sour cream or creme fraiche dolloped on the soup before serving is quite yummy. I also like to roast extra garlic... cause it's always nice to have roasted garlic on hand (and you can spread it on some nice crusty bread for with the soup!)