Yesterday’s guest post from Sally concluded her recollections in The Caregiver Series, but our conversation about some of the issues she shared won’t end any time soon. Next week, look for a post from me with some perspective on what watching my parents has taught me.
One of the most challenging aspects to my father’s care has been feeding him. He suffered nerve damage in his face before his stroke. So, that nerve damage plus the stroke-induced paralysis mean that swallowing is a real challenge for him.
The things one would assume he would be able to “get down” easily are often some of the most dangerous things for him to eat. For example, he cannot consume clear, thin liquids like water or broth. If he’s going to eat soup, it must be thick or he runs the risk of aspirating which can lead to pneumonia (which leads to a hospital stay … you get the drill.)
The paradox is that most vegetables are also difficult for him to ingest. We have had success pureeing them and putting them in eggs, for example. And, he has done very well with my thick soups. He loves the Butternut Apple Soup I shared with you earlier.
For Thanksgiving this year, I was prepared to make the Butternut Apple Soup. Then my CSA box came and three butternut squashes I expected arrived and they were teensy weensy. We could have all enjoyed a droplet of soup.
So I pulled some ingredients from the fridge and developed this soup as our starter. It’s rich and delicious and I hope you will enjoy it.
Though I don’t list them as ingredients, I think some frizzled prosciutto or bits of hot bacon would be a fabulous garnish.
This recipe fed nine adults easily, but our portions were starter portions and not meal portions.
One other note – I used both a food processor and a Vitamix high-powered blender for my soup. If you are making half the recipe, I would suspect you could get by only dirtying up one or the other.
Roasted Cauliflower & Fennel Soup
- 2 heads cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced
- 2 TBSPs high quality fat (I used bacon grease)
- 4.5 cups stock (I used chicken)
- 1/4 tsp grated fresh nutmeg
- salt, to taste
- (reserve fennel fronds for garnish, if desired)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Melt fat in a small saucepan over low heat until liquid.
- Add fennel to roasting pan. Drizzle half of fat over it.
- Sprinkle with salt and toss to coat.
- Put in oven and roast for 15 minutes being careful not to burn.
- Spread cauliflower evenly over another roasting pan, making sure this one has a lip to it.
- Drizzle remaining fat over cauliflower, sprinkle with salt and toss to coat.
- Roast cauliflower for 45 minutes, or until the edges just begin to brown.
- At the 45 minute mark, remove cauliflower from oven and pour 2.5 cups stock over the veggies. Stir and return to oven for another 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the fennel and 2 cups stock to a food processor. Puree then remove and set aside.
- Remove cauliflower from oven and add to food processor. Be sure to include all pan drippings!
- Puree until smooth.
- Add the fennel puree and the cauliflower puree to a Vitamix or other high-speed blender. Start it on low, then blend on high until the mixture is velvety smooth.
- Add salt to taste.
- Garnish with chopped fennel fronds.