You know that Spanish tapas dish, patatas bravas? The one with potatoes in a spicy, smokey tomato sauce? This is my soup version of that. Plus cauliflower, for texture, flavor, and because potatoes and cauliflower are such good friends. It’s an easy soup to make, and the broth – warm, rich and spicy, is perfect for the freezingly dreary weather we’ve been experiencing here lately. I wanted it to be very brothy, but if you wanted a thicker soup, I think it would be nice to add a picada at the end…a mixture of toasted almonds, bread fried in olive oil, and garlic, all roughly ground together. I might try that some time! I’ll let you know how it goes.
Here’s Mississippi John Hurt’s beautiful Spanish Fandango, and Elizabeth Cotten’s equally heartbreakingly beautiful Spanish Flang Dang.
3 T olive oil
1 shallot, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1/2 t. each basil, thyme and rosemary
1 1/2 t. spanish paprika
1/2 t. cayenne (or to taste!)
1/3 cup sherry
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into very small florets (about 2 cups)
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch dice
1 can (15 oz) roasted diced tomatoes
2-4 cups water or vegetable broth
1 t. – 1 T balsamic (I’d stir in a teaspoon, taste, and then add more as you like it)
1 t. salt
plenty of freshly ground pepper
Warm the olive oil in a big soup pot over medium heat. Add the shallot, cook till starting to brown and wilty. Add the garlic and herbs. Cook a minute or two. Add the sherry. Cook till it’s thick and syrupy.
Add the potatoes and cauliflower. Cook for a few minutes, till they’re starting to brown and soften. Don’t let them burn. Each time the pan seems to become dry, add a bit of white wine, and stir that in well.
Add the tomatoes, paprika and cayenne. Mix well and cook to heat through. When it’s starting to bubble, add water or vegetable broth to cover everything by an inch or two.
Heat to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer, partly covered for about 1/2 an hour to 40 minutes, till the potatoes and cauliflower are soft but not too mushy. Take the lid off and cook till the soup thickens a bit. Add the balsamic, salt, and plenty of pepper.