Cauliflower, Greens and Chorizo Soup

I realize that summer isn’t generally a huge soup season, but this one really was almost completely devoid of the good stuff; it seems I have some lost time to make up for! Luckily, the weather has mandated that it’s time for me to switch out my lunchtime daily salad for a daily soup instead. Let’s get started.

A good friend of mine introduced me to this soup last year. It relies upon a pretty classic combination of sausage, potato and greens, but instead of relying heavily on the potato, it tosses cauliflower in there, making a much lighter soup than you’re used to or expecting. Half of the potato and cauliflower are pureed, creating a low-fat, yet creamy base for the larger cauliflower florets, hearty greens and meaty hunks of smokey chorizo.

The chorizo is really where it’s at. There are two main types of chorizo (I’m simplifying, obvi), Mexican and Spanish. Mexican chorizo is generally sold raw and cooked before eating, while Spanish Chorizo is already cooked, cured and smoked and so requires no cooking. Both sausages are reddish in color because they’re seasoned with paprika. Spanish chorizo, which is used here, is seasoned smoked paprika (pimentón), which, predictably, adds an meaty, smokey deliciousness to any dish. If you haven’t tried smoked paprika yet, you need to; you, like all others before you, will become addicted and add it to EVERYTHING for a spell. Promise. Here, the smokey sausage plays perfectly off the rich potatoes and slightly sweet cauliflower to make something mouthwatering. The whole soup is finished off with a spritz of lemon, which balances the smokey flavors and enhances the slight sourness already present in spanish paprika. In fact, smoked paprika and lemon juice is one of my favorite flavor combos for tofu-just rub the tofu down with a little smoked paprika and salt, sear in a pan ’til brown, then spritz with lemon juice and you’re good to go! But I digress….soup.

This soup is really easy. This soup is really delicious. This soup is a fabulous little spin on a classic; nothing fancy, just a brilliant, simple flavor combination. It’s a great way to start off soup season, which, luckily for us, has at least 7 months to go.

Cauliflower, Greens and Chorizo Soup

From Sara Moulton. Serves 4-6.

If you can’t find chorizo, use another cooked, smoked sausage like kielbasa. For the blending step, I used a hand blender and blended it directly in the pot, but if you want a truly creamy soup, you need to take the long route and use a real blender.

2 T extra virgin olive oil
8 oz chorizo sausage, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced (about 1 c)
1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 lbs)
1 small Yukon gold potato (about 4 oz), peeled and thinly sliced
4 c chicken broth
1 bunch greens (mustard greens, kale, or spinach, or a mixture) stems discarded, leaves rinsed and thinly sliced
3 T fresh lemon juice
Paprika, preferably smoked, for garnish

  • In a large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil until quite hot. Add chorizo and cook, stirring, until browned on both sides. Remove to a plate
  • Pour off half the sausage grease and discard. Add the onion to the remaining grease and cook until softened (~5 min)
  • While the onion cooks, separate 2 c worth of small cauliflower florets and set aside. Chop the remainder of the cauliflower
  • Add the chopped cauliflower, potato and chicken broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook ~5 min or until cauliflower and potato are soft
  • Transfer to a blender in batches and puree until smooth
  • Pour soup back into the hot pot and add water (if needed) so that the total volume is about 7 cups
  • Add the reserved cauliflower florets. If using mustard greens or kale, add now. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook ~ 4 min or until cauliflower is tender
  • Stir in chorizo and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. If you’re using spinach, stir it in now
  • Serve garnished with smoked paprika
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