CREAM OF MUSHROOM AND CAULIFLOWER SOUP
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1-pound mushrooms (white, baby bella, or any mix), sliced
12 sprigs thyme, tied in a bundle with kitchen string
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 small head of cauliflower, rough chopped (about 6 cups)
3 cups mushroom stock (or vegetable or chicken stock)
2 cups heavy cream
½-pound shitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps sliced
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large (6-7 quart) Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, thyme bundle, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and Superbly Herby to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, for 6-8 minutes until the mushrooms release their moisture and begin to lightly brown.
Add the cauliflower, stock, and heavy cream to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a very low boil and let cook for 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is fork tender.
While the soup cooks, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet and cook the shitake mushrooms until golden brown, about 3 minutes.
When the cauliflower is tender, remove the thyme bundle from the soup pot and discard. Carefully transfer the soup to a blender (or use an immersion blender). Pulse the soup (careful the hot soup does not explode out of the top of the blender) and then blend on low until smooth. Transfer back to the pot and keep warm until ready to serve.
Serve the soup hot in bowls, topped with the fried shitake mushrooms and garnished with thyme sprigs.