Cooking with Karel Anne: Creamy Lenten Soup

Sometimes when a dish is placed before you and you aren't quite sure what's in it, or if you will even like it -- it's tough to pick up the spoon or fork.
A version of this dish surprised me as being my favorite at a wine dinner recently in Napa Valley. [Serve with a crisp Chardonnay and love the flavors.]
The crab addition is if you want the soup to be fancy-schmancy. It's still good without. Trust me; I cleaned my bowl!
This soup follows the Lenten rules of no meat on Fridays. Served on any other day, substitute chicken broth.

Creamy Lenten Soup

Serving Size : 10

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup celery -- diced
1 1/2 cups onion -- diced
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon chervil
1 bulb garlic -- roasted (recipe follows)
2 heads cauliflower -- trimmed and cubed
7 cups vegetable broth
2/3 cup crab meat -- in pieces
10 red onion slices -- 1 ring per bowl
10 sprigs cilantro

1. Heat oil in a large soup pot. When oil begins to ripple, add the celery and stir quickly. This will lower the temperature of the oil. Add the diced onion and sauté. Stir to cook until ingredients are soft, with no browning. Add spices and stir with the onions until fragrant, about two minutes.

2. Place the cut up cauliflower in the soup pot and slowly pour the broth over it, stirring to submerge it. Bring to a bubbling simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Add cloves of roasted garlic and simmer 10 more minutes, until the cauliflower is soft. Remove from heat and puree in a blender. Return pureed soup to the pot and reheat if necessary.

4. Place a tablespoon of crab in each bowl. (This step is optional)

5. Gently pour soup into the flat bowl. Top with a sprig of cilantro and ring toss the red onion around it. Serve and enjoy.

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Per Serving : 173 Calories; 6g Fat (29.0% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 24g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 10mg Cholesterol; 1185mg Sodium.

Roasted Garlic Bulbs

3 garlic bulbs -- cut in half
6 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Cut garlic bulbs in half horizontally.

2. Using a 6 cup muffin tin, put one tablespoon of water in each cup. Place each half, cut side up, in each muffin cup. Smooth 1 teaspoon of olive oil on each open face.

3. Tightly wrap the muffin tin with foil and place in oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook 7-10 minutes more until garlic turns a toasty brown.

4. Remove from tin and squeeze cloves into a glass dish.

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