Cauliflower, Kale and Sausage Soup

October 17th, 2013

Sitting at our table on the porch last night, eating this soup was a transcendental experience.  Sometimes there is a combination of ingredients that raise the bar for flavor.  This is one of those dishes.  Anytime you roast vegetables you release great flavor.  In this case the vegetable was cauliflower. The humble head of cauliflower can be turned into a delicious soup.  The original recipe is a winner on the Food 52 website.  The creator of the soup is Bogre, a guy from Connecticut with Hungarian roots; thus the use of smoked paprika in the dish.  The cauliflower is first roasted with the smoked paprika and cumin and then pureed with chicken stock.  This hearty base is then enhanced with sausages and either mustard greens or kale.

I made some substitutions to the original recipe.  A Trader Joe’s has opened in our area, for which I am eternally grateful.  I used their pre-washed Tuscan kale and their brand of turkey kielbasa.  Also I did not have any smoked paprika so substituted regular paprika.  However you tinker with this soup, you will still end up with a winner.  I plan to use cauliflower again as a base for creamy soups.  It has less calories than potatoes, but still imparts a rich, rib sticking goodness.


Serves 6 to 8


  • 2pounds cauliflower florets (from 1 medium head)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika (I used regular paprika)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus extra for roasting)
  • 1 Spanish onion, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 pound smoked turkey kielbasa, sliced (Wellshire Farms brand is particularly good) – I used Trader Joe’s Smoked Turkey Kielbasa
  • 1 bunch mustard greens, shredded – I used Tuscan Kale
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Toss cauliflower florets with cumin, smoked paprika, and liberal amounts of salt, pepper, and olive oil. Spread in a single layer in a roasting pan or baking dish and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove florets and set aside. Deglaze the roasting pan with 1 cup of the chicken stock, stirring to scrape up browned bits. Mix in with the remaining stock.
  3. Sauté the onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil (In a large stock pot) over medium-medium high heat until tender and translucent and beginning to brown. Add garlic and pepper flakes and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add cauliflower and stock and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about an hour. Remove from heat and purée.  I used an immersion blender.
  4. Return the puréed soup to low heat. Add sausage and cook about 10 minutes. (You can brown the sausage beforehand if you like.) Add the mustard greens and parsley and simmer another 5 to 10 minutes until the greens soften a bit. Remove from heat. Stir in the cilantro and the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a sprinkle of smoked paprika and a drizzle of olive oil.

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Cauliflower Gratin

December 16th, 2013

Cauliflower Gratin 1


You can never have too many make-ahead casseroles in your arsenal during the holiday season.  Cauliflower recipes seem to be everywhere on the internet and on the cooking shows.  I made a cauliflower, kale and sausage soup recently and it was a real hit.  The thing about cauliflower is that it is such a mild vegetable that it picks up the flavors of anything that you add to it.

Cauliflower Gratin V


In this case, the additions were a bechamel sauce, Gruyere and Parmesan cheese and a crisp sourdough bread crumb topping.  It doesn’t hurt that the recipe came from the Barefoot Contessa.  We were having steaks for dinner the other night and I felt like making something other than potatoes to go with them.  This cauliflower gratin was the perfect choice.  I actually assembled it ahead of time and popped it into the oven when David lit the grill.

Cauliflower Gratin 2


It was creamy, crunchy and delicious.  I am keeping this recipe to share with company.


1 ( 3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets
Kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup fresh sourdough bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm.  Drain.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.  Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil.  Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened.  Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, and the Parmesan.

Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch dish.  Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere.  Melt the remaining 2 tablespoon of the butter.  Drizzle over the bread crumb mixture.  Stir to combine and then sprinkle the mixture over the gratin.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned.

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© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.