Need comfort food—and fast? This Curried Cream of Cauliflower Soup is sure to hit the spot! It’s smooth and velvety, quick and easy to make, and truly satisfying—what else could you wish for?
My Curried Cream of Cauliflower Soup experiments
Here in Finland we have had some pretty arctic weather lately. While the rest of the world seems to bathe in the warmth of spring (okay, maybe not Central Europe, but it’s still warmer there than it is here), we have had chilly temperatures—and when I say “chilly” I mean around -15 °F (-26 °C)—for some time. That means there’s been plenty of demand for hot, comforting dishes, even though it’s already early March.
And what fits the bill better than a creamy, tasty, piping-hot soup, served with low-carb crackers? Made with cauliflower, a low-carb staple, and seasoned with garlic and mellow curry, this soup is incredibly satisfying.
But how did I come up with the idea for this Curried Cream of Cauliflower Soup in the first place? Where did it all start?
Since cauliflower is such a staple in just about every low-carb kitchen, I wanted to find more uses for it. Cauliflower soup sounded like an ideal option for those cold and gloomy winter days. Well, to be honest, they’re not really gloomy: the days are already quite long and the sun has been shining very brightly. It’s a well-known fact that the lower the temperature, the brighter and more beautiful the weather. But it was still as cold as the tip of a polar bear’s tail. (Foreigners often think we have polar bears here in Finland but I have to disappoint you: we don’t! However, we do have two pandas, freshly imported from China! And plenty of brown bears, all of whom are hibernating happily at the moment.)
So I was craving a hot cauliflower soup to combat the chill.
But what ingredients should I use? Cauliflower, yes, and maybe chicken broth for fluid. I wasn’t planning to add any cream at first, but suddenly I found myself thinking of Cream of Cauliflower Soup, which would obviously call for cream in order to make it, well, creamy.
To give the soup more flavor, I wanted to add some seasoning—maybe a seasoning mix to make the flavors more diverse. I was pondering different seasoning mixes, from BBQ seasoning to Italian herbs to Cajun seasoning. Then it suddenly occurred to me that curry would be just the seasoning I needed: with its beautiful color and warm taste, it’d be perfect for my wintery soup.
I packed my luggage and headed for our summer cottage for a short winter holiday (we Finns call them “summer” cottages even when we spend time in them during the winter. Actually, some cottages aren’t meant for winter use, but ours is.) Since the nearest grocery store is located almost 10 miles (15 km) from the cottage and it’s lousily equipped, I had to ensure I had everything I needed to develop this recipe. I bought five cauliflower heads, a big bag of curry powder and over a quart (some 1 liter) of heavy cream. I was going to make a Cream of Cauliflower Soup, so I’d need lots of cream, right?
This is a photo of the cottage (sorry, no bears or pandas there!)
I also had bags of garlic and onions just in case I needed extras for my experiments. I didn’t take any other spices, though, as I was so sure curry was the one I’d use. And I did have some basic spices on hand in the summer cottage. Oh yes, and I also took plenty of chicken broth for the base of the soup.
Many Cream of Cauliflower Soup recipes have dozens of ingredients. For me those are a complete turn-off. As always, I wanted to keep everything simple—without sacrificing the taste, naturally. After pondering my first experiment long and hard, I finally decided to use 2 teaspoons curry powder, 4 garlic cloves (that should add enough flavor, I thought), 1 large head cauliflower, 4 cups (950 ml) chicken broth and 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream. Then just salt and pepper for the final touch.
I was planning to sauté the garlic and curry in a small amount of butter in order to release all the flavors. I also wanted to sauté the cauliflower for some minutes before adding liquid so that it would really suck up those delicious flavors of curry and garlic.
I wasn’t sure if 4 cups (950 ml) of chicken broth was the right amount—perhaps the soup would get too runny? But I had to start somewhere, and 4 cups (950 ml) just felt like the right amount. However, I was a bit perturbed by the carb count, due to the heavy cream: 1 cup (240 ml) of cream did contain a considerable amount of carbs.
Then it occurred to me that I could try the same method I use in my Extra Creamy Cream of Pumpkin Soup: I’d use just half the amount of the cream (so, 1/2 cup = 120 ml), but would whip it first to add some volume. That’d make a really thick and creamy soup. Sounded great to me!
I had one leftover precooked cauliflower head that I was planning to use for my first experiments. Anyway, I just wanted to know whether I was heading in the right direction with the seasonings, and that the result wouldn’t be too bland.
Well, heavy cream is pretty bland, and since I happened to have some cream cheese in the fridge, I decided to divide the first experiment in half and use whipped cream in one half and cream cheese in the other. Cream cheese has a rich, slightly tangy-and-sour flavor and I often use it in pureed soups. And since it’s cream cheese, it’s okay for a Cream of Cauliflower soup, isn’t it?
I sautéed the garlic and curry powder in a small amount of butter. Then I added hot chicken broth and the precooked cauliflower in chunks. I waited until the mixture was boiling and the garlic was soft. I pureed the soup with an immersion blender and divided the soup in half. As I’d planned, to one half I added 1/4 cup (60 ml) whipped cream and to the other half I added 4 oz (115 g) cream cheese.
Well, the soup with the whipped cream made a beautiful, thick soup, like this:
As for the second half—it was difficult to get the cream cheese to mix in properly. It formed nasty little lumps that appeared as ugly white spots in the soup. So, if I were to decide to use the cream cheese in the final recipe, I’d definitely have to add it before pureeing the soup! For the photo of this experiment (below), I pureed the soup again to ensure the cream cheese was evenly mixed throughout. The result was smooth and velvety:
I made a taste test and decided on my absolute favorite immediately. I also let the rest of the family—my son and my mom and dad who were in the summer cottage with me—to taste both soups. They all agreed with me: the version with cream cheese was the ultimate one. Everybody was raving about it and they all emptied their soup bowls down to the last drop!
So, now that I knew cream cheese was the winner, it was time to fine-tune my Curried Cream of Cauliflower Soup recipe.
I started my next experiment the same way: I sautéed the garlic and curry in a small amount of butter, then added raw cauliflower chunks and sautéed those for about 5 minutes before adding the chicken broth. I let the soup simmer for some 20 minutes until the cauliflower was really tender. Then I added the cream cheese and then pureed the soup until it was smooth. That 4 cups (950 ml) chicken broth indeed seemed to be just the right amount.
I seasoned the soup with salt and pepper and served it again to the rest of the family. Thumbs up: they spooned up every last drop of the soup yet again!
Tips for making the Curried Cream of Cauliflower Soup
This is a very easy soup to make, so it’s very unlikely that anything will go wrong.
Just a few minor tips: When you sauté the curry and the garlic, be sure not to burn them. You just want to release their flavors and to soften the garlic a bit. The garlic will become tender and will taste mellow once it’s cooked with the cauliflower.
Also, be sure to puree the soup properly. It’s meant to be really smooth and velvety. There are wonderfully chunky soups out there but this is not one of them: no, this one is smoooooth! And creamy. So, no lumps, please.
As you’ll notice, you don’t need any special skills to make this soup, so it’s great for kitchen beginners. Now let’s take a look at how to make this dreamy, creamy soup:
Heat a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add some butter or lard and let it melt.
Add the curry powder…
…and the garlic.
Sauté for 1-2 minutes, mixing all the time, until the garlic is slightly translucent and the curry is fragrant.
Add the cauliflower chunks. Sauté for 5 minutes, mixing all the time.
Ensure that the cauliflower chunks are completely covered with the curry and garlic mixture.
Add the hot broth.
Cover with a lid, and reduce the heat to low. Let simmer for 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender.
When the cauliflower is tender, remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the cream cheese.
Puree the soup with an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender or a food processor…
…until smooth and velvety:
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately. You can heat the soup a bit if you prefer your soup piping hot, but don’t let it boil, as it might separate.
And finally the recipe. Enjoy!
|Per serving if 6 servings in total:
|Per serving if 8 servings in total:
Tips for variation
You can easily add variation to this soup by trying different flavored cream cheeses. (Just make sure they don’t have any nasty ingredients like carrageenan, flavor enhancers or other food additives.) In the progress photos (in the Tips section) I’ve used cream cheese with chives, and in the video above I’ve used cream cheese with smoked reindeer (it’s a Finnish specialty, so don’t despair if you can’t find it!) For me and my family, the smoked reindeer version tasted exceptionally heavenly. Next, I’m going to try cream cheese with sun-dried tomatoes. I bet it’ll be a perfect fit, too!
And if you like even more seasoning, go for it: no need to skimp! Just add some hot sauce, cayenne pepper, chipotle, BBQ seasoning, onion powder, Cajun seasoning—whatever you happen to fancy. Also, a scattering of freshly chopped herbs atop each serving lends flavor and freshness. My personal favorite is thyme, but feel free to add chopped parsley, cilantro, rosemary, chervil, basil, marjoram, tarragon, chives, or dill.
Instead of curry powder, you can try different curry pastes, too. Asian stores have a great selection of different varieties. Red, green, or yellow, just choose your favorite. (As always, though, be sure to choose one without nasty hidden ingredients like additives or sugar!)!
Which version of this soup are you going to make?
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