Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cauliflower Soup


I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Come closer now…come closer. Lean in. Are you ready? I’m going to whisper. (I like soup.) Don’t tell anyone!

Okay, so I just made a big deal out of nothing. But the fact remains that I love soup, especially at this time of year. All those fresh vegetables right out of the garden (If you don't like cauliflower, make this soup with broccoli or corn....). Keep in mind that while this soup may appear to have a lot of steps, there’s nothing difficult about it. Just get your ingredients ready and it’ll be a cinch.

Here’s what you’ll need:
The Cast of Characters: Cauliflower, Carrot, Onion, Celery, Chicken Broth or Stock, Milk, Half & Half, Butter, Flour, Salt, Pepper, Sour Cream, and Parsley (fresh or dried).

Wash 1 to 2 heads of cauliflower, depending on how chunky you’d like the soup to be. I use about a head and 1/3 of another head.

Just whack the head in half and get rid of the hard inner core and green parts.

Then just roughly chop the cauliflower.

You could be meticulous and cut the cauliflower into neat little florets…but why?

Next, finely dice one carrot. I just cut strips in the carrot, then rotate the strips 90 degrees and finely dice.

I do the same to the celery: just cut it into strips, then dice.

Same goes with the onion: first cut lines/strips…


Then dice away!

Then say the following word: Mirepoix, pronounced “mi-reh-pwah.” That’s what this is, just a fancy French cooking name for a traditional French Trio of vegetables. If you are in Louisiana, the carrot would be replaced by bell pepper and called the "Holy Trinity".

Place a stock pot or dutch oven over medium high heat and melt 4 tablespoons butter in the pan. When the butter’s melted, throw in the onions.

Stir them around for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they get a little color.

Throw in the carrots and celery…

And stir it around for a minute or so.

Now just throw in the cauliflower. If it’s finely diced, it should measure to about 2 quarts. If it’s large and weird like mine, more like 3 quarts.

Stir it around to combine…

Next, and please don’t hate me, add 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, if you have it. PLEASE, IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS GOOD IN THE WORLD AND YOU FIND YOURSELF LUCKY ENOUGH TO LIVE NEAR A SUPERMARKET THAT CARRIES FRESH PARSLEY, or if you grow it yourself...add it in.

If you don’t, however, use dried parsley flakes. In the end, you won’t even be able to tell.

Give it a good stir, reduce the heat to low…

And cover the pot. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice during the process.

When 15 minutes is over, pour in 2 quarts of chicken broth. If you have homemade stock in your freezer, go for it. If you don’t, buy it in the store. Just be sure to buy the low sodium variety so you’ll be able to control the salt content of the soup.

It’s all about control, people. Cauliflower and control.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and let the soup simmer.

While it’s simmering, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.

In a separate bowl, pour 2 cups whole milk. I always use whole milk in soups because…well, because.

Add 6 tablespons flour to the milk…

Mix together with a whisk.

As soon as the butter in melted…

Pour the milk/flour mixture into the saucepan.

Stir to combine. Almost immediately, it’ll thicken into a nice white sauce.

Did you know you just made a white sauce? It’s true!

Well, I made it for you, but still. Your heart was in it.

Next, because the world is a crazy place, add 1 cup of half & half to the white sauce.

And now for the fun part: Pour the white sauce into the simmering soup mixture.

Yum. This SHORE smells good. Not that this smells like a beach or a lake...no siree! It smells like...heaven!

Now, just throw in a bay leaf or two.

And a little bit of salt. We’ll want to taste the soup before adding much salt, specially if you didn't listen to Momma Greenie and used full salted Broth...

Now just let the soup simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. It’ll fill your house with fanciful aromas and feelings.

Here’s my soup tureen. My old friend, Sissy, gave it to me when I got married and it made my heart go pitter-pat.

I love you, Sissy. Thank you for my soup tureen. It always make me think of you.

China check: Spode “Blue Italian”

Now, here’s the kicker: just before serving, throw 1 generous cup of sour cream into the serving bowl or tureen.

Add 2 to 3 ladles of hot soup into the serving bowl…

Give it a good stir, just to get the sour cream used to the soup.

Pour the rest of the soup into the serving bowl.

And let me tell you, if you don’t think this stuff is beyond yummy, you’ve got another thing comin’.

It makes me tingle. In a really, really good way.

And YOU can tingle, TOO! Just make this soup today.

Here’s the recipe:

Cauliflower Soup

1 stick butter
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 to 2 heads cauliflower, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or dried parsley
2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth or stock
2 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons flour
1 cup half & half
2 to 4 teaspoons salt, to taste
1 generous cup sour cream, at room temperature

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, or until it starts to turn brown. Add the carrots and celery and cook an addition couple of minutes. Add cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine. Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, pour in chicken stock or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.

In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Mix the flour with the milk and whisk to combine. Add flour-milk mixture slowly to the butter, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup half & half.

Add mixture to the simmering soup. Allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary.

Just before serving, place the sour cream in a serving bowl or soup tureen. Add two to three ladles of hot soup into the tureen and stir to combine with the sour cream. Pour in remaining soup and stir.

Serve immediately.

Oh! And one more thing:

Have a wonderful day!

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