Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Creamy cauliflower soup

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In my house, making soup is a surefire way to get kids to eat vegetables. Even Hot Dog Boy, who would happily live on processed meat products, rarely turns down a good bowl of soup. Especially when it's topped with crushed tortilla chips or homemade croutons, or when there's a hunk of bread to dip into the bowl.

My normal vegetable soup method involves sauteing an onion and some garlic in olive oil, adding the vegetable in question plus one potato (as a thickener) and some chicken broth, cooking until soft, and blitzing until smooth with a hand-held immersion blender. This works well for broccoli, leeks, zucchini, artichoke hearts, carrots, parsnips, even lettuce.

Cauliflower, though, I treat slightly differently. Using butter instead of olive oil does something magical to the flavor of cauliflower, bringing out nutty undertones that otherwise go unnoticed. I also simmer the vegetables in a combination of milk and broth, which makes the soup quite rich, giving the illusion of cream without its obvious drawbacks.

I make this soup all year, but it's particularly comforting now, in the dead of winter. I feel a bit hypocritical calling January in southern California "the dead of winter" - but hey, it may be 65 degrees and sunny here, but it's snowing somewhere (I heard it on the news).

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Creamy cauliflower soup
Simmering the cauliflower in a mixture of stock and milk makes a luxurious, creamy soup without the fat of heavy cream.
Ingredients
  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small potato, peeled and diced (I don't normally peel, but in this case the aesthetics win out over the fiber)
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3 cups milk (whole, lowfat or fat-free)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
Instructions
Cut the cauliflower into florets. Peel the tough outer skin off the stem, then chop the remaining inner stem into small pieces.In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter and saute the onion 4-5 minutes or until it turns translucent - don't let it brown. Add the cauliflower, potato, stock and milk and bring to a gentle simmer. Turn down the heat and simmer the soup, covered, until the vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes. Puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender until very smooth (or transfer to a countertop blender, being careful not to burn yourself). Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6-8 servings

12 comments:

Rhonda said...

You bet your booty it is snowing somewhere! The soup would be perfect for us Montanans. Soup is such a lovely way to get kids to eat veggies, next best thing to cheese sauce...

Patti at Worth The Whisk said...

Looks nice and light, yum yum.

Nancy said...

I have to say, I am a true fan of cauliflower and I love it in soup!!

Monet said...

I bet the butter makes all the difference! Like you, I start most of my soups with some oil and garlic/onion. But I don't think anything could be better with cauliflower than a little dab of butter. Thank you for sharing such a great recipe. I hope your weekend overflows with good food, good friends, and love!

Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger) said...

I love cauliflower soup! I add a little carrot to mine mostly because I'm not crazy over the dirty-ish white color. This recipe looks great. I've never tried butter in my cauliflower soup but will have to do that. Thank you!

Erika said...

@Rivki - adding carrot to cauliflower soup to goose the color is GENIUS. I'm going to try that next time. How many carrots per one big head of cauliflower? And what color does the final soup turn out?

Sippity Sup said...

It's not snowing in Hollywood! In fact it's 80. But that did not stop me from working with my favorite winter vegetable, cauliflower. A not a creamy ingredients with cauliflower. You are so right about that magical combination... GREG

Hev said...

I'm trying this out right now, I only had red onions though so I have a feeling it may come out a little pink hehe

Erika said...

@Hev - nothing wrong with pink soup!

Delishhh said...

Lovely soup! Just fabulous! I need to make this some time soon.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much - it is winter in Perth West Australia and the soup is fabulous.....

Valentina said...

this soup looks delicious -- love the touch of butter. yum yum!

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