Friday, February 8, 2013

Cauliflower-Sweet Potato Soup with Ras el Hanout

Cauliflower-Sweet Potato Soup with Ras el Hanout
Makes 15 Cups
Serves 7 to 15 people 
Fifteen 1-cup servings OR seven 2-cup bowls

If you want a nourishing soup this is it. I love Ras el Hanout so much that sometimes I just open the jar to enjoy the fragrance. I had fun creating this recipe and Stan said it's a keeper. This is a great recipe to use up fresh chicken broth after making Poule au Pot (poached chicken and vegetables) the day before. You may find there aren't too many leftovers of this soup, people magically wander to your house the day it gets made (college kids) or you hear about sick neighbors that need soup.

4 C vegetable broth, or chicken broth (preferably homemade)
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 TBL Ras el Hanout spice blend** (or your favorite curry paste ~ ours is Mae Ploy)
1 head cauliflower, small to medium
4 sweet potatoes, medium sized, peeled
1 yellow onion, cut in 8ths
1 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 C broken cashew pieces 
1 TBL ghee or butter
2 C baby spinach, loosely packed
Cilantro leaves for garnish
  1. Into a 6-quart pressure cooker** add 1-Cup of the broth (reserve the rest for later), coconut milk, and Ras el Hanout. On top of that place the whole cauliflower head (with leaves and part of core removed). Cut sweet potato into 1-inch chunks and place on top of cauliflower. 
  2. Seal the lid of the pressure cooker and bring to high pressure on the stove for 7 minutes. Remove from heat and use the quick-release method to reduce the pressure (hold sealed pot under cold running water until the pressure is gone--the valve is down). Alternatively, if you don't use a pressure cooker, cook in a large covered pot: bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking  covered for 20 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.
  3. While pot is cooking on the stove, in a skillet saute the cashews in the ghee until golden. Set aside.
  4. Remove pressure cooker lid away from you after the pressure valve is down. With large knife, cut up cauliflower into large pieces while it is sitting in the pot. 
  5. Puree the vegetables with an immersion blender. Add 3 cups additional broth at this point and puree to get the soup consistency you prefer.
  6. Add the 1-1/4 cups of the cashews to the pureed soup, reserving 1/4 C cashews for garnishing each bowl of soup. Puree the 1 1/4 cups cashews into the soup if you want a smooth soup, otherwise, leave cashews for texture. Stir in spinach and heat through. Garnish with reserved cashews and cilantro leaves.
  7. When reheating leftovers, add a little additional broth if needed to thin the soup down.

** I use Zamouri brand, bought online.
** If you want to learn more about pressure cooking, Lorna Sass has some great cookbooks.

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