Monday, October 1, 2012

Around the World in 80 Plates: Ireland

My in-laws just got back recently from a bus tour of Ireland. They had an amazing time and took about a million pictures of all the green. I asked them what they ate while they were there since I'm all about the food and they said a lot of the time they had a cream of (fill in the blank vegetable) soup with Irish Soda Bread and LOTS of potatoes as one would entirely expect. So when I was thinking of what to make for my first stop in Ireland I decided on a nice warm and hearty Cream of Cauliflower Soup with a side of Irish Soda Bread and roasted potatoes.

It has been getting colder here, definitely soup weather so this was a welcome addition to the supper table. We all really enjoyed it and Mac even tried it. This was only his second soup experience since he always said it was too tricky to eat. I think the potatoes and the soda bread convinced him to give it a try. I also threw some quickly steamed green beans on the plate since I thought it needed something green like the Emerald Isle...not really I just like green vegetables but it sounds better like I put some great thought into that doesn't it?!

The soup was my own creation, the potatoes I just simply roasted in the oven with a little olive oil, a few garlic cloves and salt and pepper. The Irish Soda Bread is from The 30 Minute Vegan Taste of Europe by Mark Reinfeld, that I recently picked up not even knowing how handy it would come in so soon. The soda bread was super quick to get together and bakes quickly too. It was delicious and we all enjoyed it with a bit of vegan margarine slathered on it and dunked in the soup. It also toasted nicely the next day to enjoy with the leftover soup for lunch. It will all definitely get made again.

A few notes for the will notice there isn't actually any cream in the soup but it didn't need it at all with the smooth velvety texture I got from the cauliflower. Also you don't have to be too careful with how you chop the vegetables since you are going to puree the soup later, you just want them to cook in roughly the same amount of time.

Cream of Cauliflower Soup
Serves 6-8

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large leek, halved then sliced thinly into little half moons
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into a small dice
2 medium stalks of celery, cut into a small dice
1/2 of a giant head of cauliflower (very scientific I know), cut into small florets
8 cups of water
6 tbsp + 2 tsp vegetable broth powder (or replace the water and broth powder with vegetable broth)
pinch of dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over med-high heat then add the leek, carrots and celery and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stirring occasionally, saute the vegetables until they are softened and just starting to caramelize.  Add the cauliflower and stir it to fully mix it with the other vegetables. Again cook for a few minutes and let it start to soften.

2. Add the water and broth powder and pinch of thyme and bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low and cover. You want it to simmer so adjust the heat if you have to. Simmer until the cauliflower is tender and cooked through. Once it has cooked, using an immersion blender, blend the soup until it is creamy and no longer has small chunks of vegetables. You could also use a blender here if you don't have an immersion blender, just be careful blending hot liquids.

3. Once it has been blended, taste it and add more salt and pepper to your preference. It can either be served right away or you can let it sit over low heat until you are ready to serve it.

Just for reference...this was the giant head of cauliflower that inspired this soup


  1. I love your theme! I need a good cauliflower recipe and this looks perfect!

  2. Fantastic theme!!! I am definitely going to make this soup and can't wait to see what other dishes you make!

  3. Great theme! I can't wait to see where we'll travel next! This bread & soup meal sounds so cozy. It makes me want to put on some fuzzy slippers and dig in!

  4. I really need to make some Irish soda bread the next time I make soup, it always seems like the perfect accompaniment to a big warm bowl. Looking forward to seeing where you’re headed next!