Thanksgiving Cheat Sheet: Vegetarian Cauliflower-Cashew Chowder
Chowders are chunky, hearty soups—a classic comfort food for the long, cold winter. As ingredients, cauliflower and cashews are both mellow in flavor, with buttery, earthy richness, but here they combine to make a bold soup.
Cauliflower has become a star in the modern nutritional hit parade, standing in for potatoes in a mash or roasted until its curly white edges turn deep gold. The florets soften entirely in this soup but keep their creamy white color. We like to purée about a quarter of the soup and leave the rest of the florets and cashew pieces whole. This gives the soup a rich texture without the addition of too much heavy cream. (We’ve added a little cream to finish the soup, but if you choose to leave it out, the soup will still taste unctuous.)
Yield: 12 cups
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 all-purpose potato, peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups (7 ½ ounces) coarsely chopped cashews
- 4 cups (14 ounces) cauliflower florets (from 1 small head)
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, potato, and garlic. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add the cashews, cauliflower, thyme, and stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat until the soup is simmering and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Remove the sprigs of thyme, but don’t be concerned if the leaves have fallen off the stems.
- Ladle 2 cups soup into a medium bowl. Using a handheld or standard blender, purée until completely smooth. Return the purée to the pot. Add the heavy cream and season with the remaining 1 ½ teaspoons salt and the pepper or to taste. Serve immediately. Store any cooled leftovers in a covered airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat any quantity of soup over low heat.
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