Roasted Garlic and Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Leeks

If you raise an eyebrow at the anchovies in this ingredient list, let me explain. If they’re not your thing (or you think they probably aren’t), just use them anyway. They add a deep, salty, umami flavor to the leeks and seem to “melt” away during cooking. No fishy taste whatsoever. Honest.

Prep time 25 minutes
Serves 6

1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
12 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons (29 ml) avocado oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium to large russet potato (about 12 ounces, or 340 g), peeled and chopped into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
1 medium shallot, diced
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 dried bay leaves
11/2 quarts (1.4 liters) Simple Chicken Stock
1 tablespoon (15 ml) red wine vinegar
1 large or 2 small leeks, trimmed, rinsed, and chopped
4 anchovy fillets, minced, or 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
4 tablespoons (60 g) Homemade Ghee
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

1 Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C).
2 Place the cauliflower florets and garlic cloves on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the oil over the top and sprinkle with a couple of generous pinches of salt and the pepper. Toss it all with your hands to coat well and spread the mixture out evenly on the pan.
3 Roast for 15 minutes, flipping the vegetables halfway through, until they are golden brown in spots, and soft.
4 Meanwhile, place the potato, shallot, thyme, bay leaves, chicken stock, and 1 teaspoon of sea salt in a 4-quart (3.8 liter) slow cooker. Add the cauliflower and garlic when it comes out of the oven.
5 Cover and cook for 5 to 6 hours on low.
6 Blend the soup using an immersion blender or a countertop blender. Return the soup to the slow cooker if necessary. Stir in the red wine vinegar. Taste, adding more vinegar or salt if desired.
7 Place the leeks, anchovies, ghee, and pepper flakes in a small skillet. Cook over medium-high heat for 6 to 8 minutes, until the leeks have turned golden brown and have started to crisp slightly. Remove from heat. They should crisp up more as they cool.
8 Serve the soup with a spoonful of crispy leeks on top.