Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Creamy Roasted Cauliflower and Chestnut Soup with Balsamic Mushroom and Goat Cheese Quesadillas

My husband is a big fan of the soup and sandwich combo. It doesn't matter what kind of sandwich you serve with what kind of soup, he will dip it. He doesn't mind if the flavors don't match or compliment each other, in fact I don't even think he considers that when making his selections.

Rather than a sandwich, I decided to make quesadillas. Mostly because I had some tortillas on hand, but also because I was thinking about Tripp's amazing quesadillas with mushrooms, cheddar and spinach. Sadly, I didn't have spinach and cheddar, but I had the mushrooms and some goat cheese. To make the mushrooms pop, I caramelized them with balsamic vinegar. The vinegar added a deep, rich flavor that was softened with the creamy goat cheese.

For the soup, I went out on a limb. My husband doesn't like cauliflower, but I thought if it's in soup form, he might not be as opposed because he's all about the dip-ability concept. I wanted it to be creamy and velvety, but not fattening and rich. To achieve the velvet feeling, I added cannelini beans rather than cream. To make it different and somewhat gourmet, I added some roasted chestnuts to the soup and then also chopped them for a topping. Roasting the cauliflower brought out the nutty flavor, which was extra emphasized by the chestnuts, and fresh rosemary made the dish pop.

This soup and sandwich type meal was definitely very gourmet tasting, but very easy to prepare. It has an autumn feel to it without being a squash recipe (because I'm pretty sure the last 10 and next 10 recipes on here center around squash). You can certainly change up the ingredients and use what you have on hand. this is a very basic outline for a delicious lunch combo! At the last second, I stirred some white cheddar cheese into JJ's soup, and it was delicious. However, you can keep the soup vegan without it. 

Creamy Roasted Cauliflower and Chestnut Soup
with Balsamic Mushroom and Goat Cheese Quesadillas

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 small yellow onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp. EVOO
Kosher salt and pepper
1 c. roasted chestnuts, peeled
1 c. cannelini beans
3-4 c. vegetable stock
1 tsp. fresh minced rosemary

Preheat oven to 425*
Add cauliflower and onion to a baking sheet, drizzle with EVOO, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Add un-peeled garlic cloves to the baking sheet and place in the oven.
Roast for 20-30 minutes, until cauliflower begins to caramelize and is soft.
Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes.
Add half of the cauliflower and onion mixture to a blender.
Peel the garlic cloves and add to the blender.
Add 1 c. vegetable stock to the blender and puree.
Pour into a soup pot on the stove over medium heat.
Add remaining cauliflower and another cup of stock to the blender. 
If you'd like to have some small chunks, pulse this mixture to desired consistency, or puree.
Pour into the pot.
Add beans, 1/2 c. chestnuts and 1 c. of stock to the blender, puree until very smooth.
Pour into the pot, stir well, add rosemary.
If soup is still quite thick, add another cup of stock.
Taste and adjust seasonings, add more salt and pepper as necessary.
Bring to a simmer, then ladle into soup bowls.
top with remaining chopped chestnuts and fresh rosemary sprigs.

4 flour tortillas
1 tbsp. EVOO
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, finely diced
1/4 small yellow onion, minced
Kosher salt and pepper
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. crumbled goat cheese

Preheat a skillet over medium heat.
Add EVOO, mushrooms and onion, saute for 10 minutes, until mushrooms have given off most of their liquid and begin to caramelize.
Add salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar.
Reduce to a thick syrup, remove from heat and pour into a small dish.
Clean skillet, place back over medium heat.
Place tortillas in skillet, fill with 1/4 of the mushroom mixture and 1/4 of the cheese.
Toast for 2-3 minutes, flip and toast for another 2-3 minutes. 
Slice and serve with soup.


Joanne said...

I often think that getting people to like vegetables is all about preparation. There is one preparation for everyone! This soup sounds delicious. I love the idea of the cauliflower with the sweet nutty chestnuts. So awesome.

Natalie said...

whoa yum! I once made a cauliflower soup that was okay but way too spicy. I love the sound of this one and I'm bookmarking this recipe!!

Gina (Prim and Polished) said...

This recipe sounds amazing. I have to try it. I am a novice in the kitchen so I am a little nervous. Not sure where to even GET Chestnuts LOL but I will keep my eyes peeled.

Anonymous said...

This looks incredible, can't wait to give it a try! Pardon my ignorance, is EVOO some kind of butter/oil?