bacon flower soup

no.  it’s not some exotic new food.  it’s an absolutely delicious version of cauliflower soup that includes bacon, which is widely known & very scientifically proven to make everything taste better.ever since the husband & i returned from our fabulous honeymoon {which you can read all about here}, where we had the best meal of our lives at micheal chiarello’s bottega that included the most heavenly cauliflower soup, we have been on the hunt for a soup that would satisfy our cravings, since we live, oh, 2850 miles from the restaurant.

we’ve tried several different recipes, we preordered the bottega cookbook in hopes the recipe would be included {it wasn’t.}, i’ve shamelessly begged chef chiarello on twitter for a hint, but nothing’s really come close.

until now.

aarti, if we ever meet in real life, i’m gonna hug you.  for this recipe, in particular.  the velvety texture is there.  the flavor is close & a swirl of blood orange olive oil* makes it all a little more convincing.

serves 4-6

2 heads cauliflower, cut into 1 inch pieces (florets only)
1 large parsnip, peeled & cut into 1 inch pieces
extra virgin olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
8 slices bacon, diced
1 white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups water
blood orange olive oil*, for serving

1.  preheat oven to 425°.  line 2 baking sheets with foil.  spread the cauliflower & parsnip pieces across the baking sheets in a single layer, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper & toss to coat.  with your hands.  roast for about 30 minutes, until the veggies are a lovely, golden brown.

2.  while the veggies roast, place a large pot, or dutch oven, over medium low heat.  add the bacon & cook until crisp & fat is rendered.  remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon & transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.

3.  add the onions & garlic to the pot.  that bacon fat is going to make them delicious.  saute for about 10 minutes, until very lightly golden brown.  don’t let them go too far!

4.  remove the cauliflower & parsnip from the oven & reserve a few of the golden florets for garnish.  add the rest to the pot with the onion & garlic.  add chicken stock & water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer & simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

5.  using an immersion blender, or very, very carefully in a regular blender, blend until smooth & velvety.  taste for seasoning.  ladle into bowls, top with a few of the reserved cauliflower florets, an artistic swirl of blood orange olive oil & bacon bits.  serve with an outstanding white wine, close your eyes & imagine yourself in wine country.

very, very slightly adapted from aarti paarti

*don’t shrug off this ingredient.  get a bottle.  it adds a great touch to vinaigrettes & is so,so, so, so good with creamy soups.  once you have it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

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