Cauliflower-Celeriac-Carrot Soup with Shiitake “Bacon”

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My husband has been a vegetarian for 15 years (the same amount time I’ve known him, though not the same amount of time we’ve been married), so much of the food on this site focuses around whole foods and stuff that comes out of the ground, as that is primarily what I cook. You real bacon lovers might turn up your nose at the thought of mushroom bacon, but don’t knock  it until you’ve tried it!

This soup was inspired by Amy Chaplin, author of the amazing at home in the whole food kitchen cookbook. Amy is a chef, and I am squarely in the obsessive home cook category, so her knowledgable book provides me with lots of inspiration. As someone who bores easily, one of the reasons I love to play in the kitchen so much is the never-ending opportunity. There is always something to learn, something to try, an ingredient I’ve never used before. In addition to my love of eating and feeding others, it’s a personal growth avenue, too.

This soup would be best as a starter, or a light lunch.

cauliflower-celeriac-carrot soup with shiitake “bacon”

1 large garlic bulb, roasted
2 TBSP + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
sea salt
1 leek, cut into half moons (wash after cutting to remove any dirt)
1/2 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
4 – 5 c. cauliflower, cut into small chunks (1 whole cauliflower)
1 celeriac (also called celery root), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 tsp. fresh thyme + more for garnish
4 c. vegetable stock + 2 c. water (could use all stock or water)
1 tsp. tamari
freshly ground pepper
roasted shiitakes to garnish; recipe follows

shiitake “bacon”
16 oz fresh shiitakes
3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut stems off shiitakes and thinly slice mushrooms. Place on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss well. Spread out in single layer on baking sheet. As soon as garlic cloves come out of oven, leave at 400 F and put mushrooms in. Roast for 15 minutes, stir, and roast for another 5 minutes. They will be ready immediately, or can be eaten within a few hours. They will not keep well overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Since this recipe calls for roasted garlic, start there. Slice 1/4-inch off the top of the garlic bulb and drizzle with 1 tsp of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Wrap tightly in parchment paper, then aluminum foil and roast for 45 minutes (or until soft and golden brown). Set aside to cool.

While the garlic is roasting, chop all of your veggies. Heat the remaining 2 TBSP of olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or larger pot. Add leeks, onion, carrot and about 1 tsp of sea salt and saute for 5 minutes. Add cauliflower, celeriac and 2 tsp. of thyme, and saute for 2 minutes more. Add stock/water and bring to boil. Cover pot, reduce to low-med and simmer for 15-20 minutes until veggies are soft. Remove from heat, add tamari and several twists of black pepper and stir.

Squeeze garlic cloves out of their skin and add to soup. Use an immersion blender to blend everything, leaving a little bit of texture but no large chunks. (Alternatively, use your blender in batches.) Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with shiitake bacon and fresh thyme and serve!

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