I’ve always been a big soup fan. Even growing up in Arizona, in the middle of summer, I had been known to enjoy a good bowl of soup. Of course, nothing hits the spot like soup when it’s cold and even layers of clothes and/or blankets can’t keep you warm. There’s something lasting about being “warmed from the inside'.
Ramen was a definite favorite of mine since I could reach the stove. I would always ask if I could make ‘Chinese noodle soup’ as it was referred to in my house (we’ll chalk it up to ignorance rather than racism). As a five-year-old, Top Ramen and later Cup O’ Noodles were perfectly in my wheelhouse.
As I got older, I got more creative. Soup is one of those things that can be made from whatever you can find in your refrigerator. I was pretty famous in college for my Sunday night fried rice soup made from a leftover Friday lunch from a specific Chinese buffet. I made plenty of ‘kitchen sink’ soups using one of everything I had in the refrigerator but quickly learned to edit myself. I started developing a soup based on something my mom made a few times. It was very simple, made from chicken stock, cauliflower and ground beef. I loved it.
A while ago, I saw this weird looking vegetable that looked like green, prehistoric cauliflower. It’s called romanesco broccoli and I was told it tasted like a cross between cauliflower and… you guessed it, broccoli. I think it tastes mostly like cauliflower. But it looks really cool with it’s fractal pattern that I just had to make a version of cauliflower soup with it.
I start out with a chicken base but also add browned Italian sausage, which adds to flavor of the broth. I also put a little broccoli in and mushrooms to add even more flavor to the broth. Vegetarians can use vegetable stock and more mushrooms and it will still be awesome. You can use any type of mushroom but I’m in a strong oyster and maitake mushroom phase. I love the woodsy flavor without being too earthy.
You can use regular cauliflower with this recipe or any other variety. If you want to get really festive, lose the broccoli and use orange, purple, white and romanesco for a colorful soup.
Any type of sausage or even ground beef can also be used but I have found the sweet or spicy Italian sausage to bring the perfect flavor to the soup.
I never measure for these types of things so treat the recipe as guidelines more than hard and fast rules.