Mixed Greens Blog

Mixed Greens Blog
Living Sustainably in the Pacific Northwest

30
January
2009

An Alluring Cauliflower Soup

I looked at a cauliflower the other day and thought it looked voluptuous.  That’s what January in the northern hemisphere will do to a person.  Later on the cauliflower soup did look and taste voluptuous, robust, creamy, curvaceous and thick with garlicky croutons.

Before the big freeze in December we had a regal purple beauty in the backyard. It didn’t survive.  I suppose this soup would be categorized as Slow Food, but it’s not at all a slow soup to make. Not much more than cauliflower going on and its flavor sings through each spoonful. Thirty to forty minutes start to finish.  If there’s time, let it sit for another half hour or more to meld flavors and then have your way with it.  With a fennel salad on the side and a taste of Lopez Island Ice Cream later on it was just the thing for a winter’s supper.

A Cauliflower Soup, 4 or 5 servings. Chop and sauté 2 or 3 shallots in butter and olive oil/ Add the florets of 1 large head of cauliflower, 1 quartered small potato and stir together for two or three minutes/ Add 4 – 5 cups liquid which can be a mix of water, chicken or vegetable stock/ Season with salt and pepper/ Put a lid on and let simmer until cauliflower is tender, 15 – 20 minutes/ Purée all of it in a blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender/ Return to pot, add a large handful of your favorite local cheese/ Stir into soup until blended/ Add ½ – 1 cup of whole milk or half & half, whatever is needed to achieve your own preferred consistency/ Adjust seasonings and that’s it.

Change this around to suit yourself – a little bacon with the shallot is good, fresh herbs like sage or thyme, use just water and no stock, omit the cheese, add a dollop of butter at the finish, a little sour cream might be good.

Make croutons with whatever bread you have around.  I used the end of a loaf of multi-grain from my neighborhood bakery, Bakery Nouveau.  Melt butter with a little olive oil and a smashed clove of garlic in an oven-proof pan/ Toss in torn or cut pieces of bread/ Season with salt and pop into 400º oven for 6 – 8 minutes/  Keep an eye on it/ When golden and crispy remove from the oven and use as is or dust with a little cheese of your choice while still hot/ If adding cheese, put croutons back into the oven for just a minute/ Add these to the soup when served.  Croutons add just the crunch needed to make this creamy soup a tasty and voluptuous experience.

Inexpensive, easy, nutritious. Cauliflower contains a big kick of nutrition, including sulforaphane, an anti-cancer compound that’s released when cauliflower is chopped or chewed.


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8 Responses »

  1. this looks so perfect for a winter day – definitely comfort food. thanks for the great recommendation- nice to find grub that’s also easy to whip up and kid friendly.

  2. Had to laugh at the thought of the cauli looking so alluring, but you are so very right. Even just looking at it on your blog has me dreaming of that flavor. Haven’t been able to get myself to break into the freezer though. When I do, however, this is one of the ones on my list. Plus, as Sarah said, it sounds very family friendly, so it can be done well for weekends when they come to visit 🙂

  3. Sarah, I hadn’t thought about how the creamy cheesiness of this soup would be child-friendly. Good point.
    Mangochild, I had to chuckle at your cauliflower in the freezer reference. Our backyard turned into a freezer a few weeks ago and we lost our winter cauliflower crop. Perhaps if we’d harvested it and then intentionally frozen it we’d have had better luck.
    The soup is just so good and easy.

  4. This looks absolutely wonderful. This is actually my first visit to your blog, and wish I had found it sooner – wonderful recipes, photos and writing.

  5. Matt, I’m glad you stopped by. Perfect timing – we’re just now celebrating our first year.
    Stay in touch, and we’ll be visiting your blog too, which looks fantastic.

  6. I made this with the cauli from my CSA box last night, and… oh. my. gosh. I was wary of cauliflower soups for awhile, thinking I should at least *try* it. Your description (and addition of croutons) sealed the deal. I am so glad I did — I’m looking forward to reheating the leftovers tonight!

  7. I love the fact that I can serve a wonderful dish, such as this, to my family, while at the same time being conscience about my families health. I even think my finicky 8 year old will appreciate this one.