Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cauliflower Bisque with Buttered Breadcrumbs: Another Reason to 'Love Soup' for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

If I have a soup *bible*--it is 'Love Soup' by Anna Thomas. With its 160 vegetarian soup recipes, this book never fails to inspire me or give me a great recipe for whatever soup or ingredients I am craving. In this case, I wanted a cauliflower soup--something a little rich and decadent and I found it in the Cauliflower Bisque with Buttered Breadcrumbs. Silky-smooth, perfectly flavored and set off by a topping of crispy buttery breadcrumbs, it's  the perfect soup to snuggle up with on a blustery evening.  

Love says, "When I was a child we often had cauliflower on the dinner table, and it was a glorious sight. My mother would steam a whole cauliflower and then, in the Polish style, at the last moment she would pour buttery sautéed breadcrumbs over it. The browned butter glistened down the dome of the cauliflower, and the breadcrumbs were so delicious that I've brought them back for a return engagement, scattered across the top of this velvety cauliflower bisque."   

Cauliflower Bisque with Buttered Breadcrumbs
Adapted from 'Love Soup' by Anna Thomas
(Serves 6-7)

1 large white cauliflower (about 2 lbs)
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 lemon plus more if needed
1 1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
2 medium carrots
2 medium stalks celery
1 large yellow onion
3 Tbsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped (I used 8 previously roasted garlic cloves)
1 tsp herbes de Provence

2 oz fresh creamy goat cheese or cream cheese (I used mascarpone)

Buttered Breadcrumbs to garnish (recipe below) 

Trim the cauliflower, cut the florets in small pieces, and put them in a soup pot with 2 cups water and the vegetable broth. Scrub lemon and slice off a 1-inch long strip of the zest, making sure you don't have any of the white pith, as that turns bitter. Juice the lemon. Add 2 tablespoons of the juice and the strip of zest to the pot, along with a teaspoon of sea salt. Bring the liquid to a boil, lower the heat, and let it simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel, trim, and chop the carrots, celery, and onion. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet and add the chopped vegetables, along with the garlic and a half a teaspoon of sea salt. Sauté the vegetables on a medium flame, stirring often, until they are soft and beginning to color, about 20 minutes. Add the herbes de Provence and keep stirring over medium heat for a few minutes longer. 

Add the sautéed vegetables to the cauliflower. Cover the pot again and simmer another 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is very tender. Remove from the heat and allow the soup to cool slightly.  

Puree the soup to a creamy, silky consistency, either in batches in a blender or with an immersion blender. Taste, and add salt or lemon juice if needed. Return the soup to the pot, bring it back to a simmer, add the cheese and the last tablespoon of olive oil, stirring gently as the cheese melts.

Sprinkle a heaping spoonful of buttered breadcrumbs over each serving of the soup at the last minute, just as you are serving it. 

Buttered Breadcrumbs
1 cup coarse, soft breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp unsalted butter

You can make big, soft breadcrumbs by cutting up day-old bread into cubes and processing them briefly in a food processor. Alternately, you can crumble any soft bread with your fingers.

Melt the butter in a nonstick skillet, add the breadcrumbs, and stir over medium heat for several minutes. As soon as the breadcrumbs begin to take on a toasty golden color, remove them from the heat. Use them warm from the pan, or spread them in a thin layer on a plate or cookie sheet to cool.

Author Notes: Love says that if you want a vegan soup, omit the cheese and add a little more olive oil at the end. Garnish the soup with breadcrumbs sautéed in olive oil instead of butter. Or, use good croutons instead of breadcrumbs. 

Notes/Results: As with all of Anna Thomas' recipes I have tried, this one turned out fabulously with wonderful texture and flavors. There are a couple of extra steps involved in this one--rather than dumping everything in a pot but, it is easy enough and well worth it. The recipe calls for 2 ounces of goat cheese or cream cheese but since I had leftover mascarpone, I used that and it melted in perfectly. The topping of breadcrumbs is an excellent contrast to the velvety soup so I recommend making extra to stir in as you get toward the middle of the bowl. I would definitely make this again.

It's very quiet in the Souper Sunday kitchen this week with everyone caught up in the holidays but we have Mireille of Chef Mireille's Global Creations, here with a savory bowl of Tomato Chickpea Soup. A perfect meal after the dental work she has been having, she says, "After the novocaine wears off, it still leaves me feeling quite lethargic with a tender mouth. However, hunger pangs still start a few hours later, so nothing hits the spot like a bowl of soup. I have been making every combination of soup imaginable. This is from BBC Good Food's recipe portal. This is a fabulous recipe portal full of many health conscious recipes. ... The yogurt adds a nice tang, for a well balanced, flavorful soup.

Thanks to Mireille for joining in. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share--just click on the Souper Sundays logo on my side bar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week and a wonderful New Year!


  1. your soups rock, happy new year

  2. That cauliflower soup sounds lovely! Happy New Year, Deb!

  3. I am definitely craving this now! The buttery breadcrumbs are such a fun indulgent twist.

  4. that crispy topping looks so delicious with the soup

  5. Thanks Mireille! I love yummy soup toppings. ;-)
    Thanks again for joining in and keeping me company this week too.

  6. You can never regret buttery breadcrumbs Joanne! ;-)

  7. Happy New Year to you too Alicia! ;-)

  8. Thanks Rebecca! Happy New Year! ;-)


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