Caramelized Cauliflower and Onion Soup
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus additional for drizzling
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 1 large head cauliflower, chopped into small bits
- 2 ribs celery, sliced
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and roughly chopped
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 3 large cloves garlic, chopped or grated
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cups chicken stock (add more or less depending on how thick you like your soup), divided
- 1/2 baguette, sliced on an angle (about 1/2 inch thick)
- 1/2 cup walnut halves
- 8 ounces gorgonzola cheese
Place a large soup pot over medium-high heat with the EVOO. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and cook until they begin to caramelize. Add the cauliflower, celery, bay leaf and thyme springs, and cook, stirring frequently for 8-10 minutes, until the veggies are nice and brown.
Add the garlic, some salt and freshly ground black pepper, and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Add about 1 cup of the chicken stock and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot.
Remove the pot from the heat and discard the thyme stem and bay leaf. Working in batches, transfer the veggies to a food processor. Puree until completely smooth, adding a little splash of stock to moisten mixture if necessary.
Once the cauliflower is nice and smooth, transfer the puree back to the soup pot and add enough chicken stock to achieve a thick soup consistency, anywhere from 3-5 cups. Turn the heat back to medium-high, add the bay leaf and bring up to a bubble. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
While the soup is simmering make the gorgonzola toasts: Place the baguette slices on a cookie sheet, drizzle with a little EVOO and season with some freshly ground black pepper. Add the walnut halves to one corner of the cookie sheet. Transfer to the oven and cook until the bread and nuts are toasted and golden, a couple of minutes. Remove the toasted nuts to your cutting board; give them a rough chop and reserve.
Flip the toasts over, spread on some of the Gorgonzola, and return them to the oven for a few minutes to warm up the cheese. Remove the toast from the oven and sprinkle with the walnuts. Ladle the soup into bowls, top each portion with a couple of gorgonzola toasts and serve.