Thursday, December 10, 2009

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

I was a notorious vegetable-hater when I was a kid and cauliflower was at the top of my list. I would give it the side-eye while it laid there limp and tasteless on my plate. I suspect my dislike was partly due to the way it was prepared (I hope my mom is not reading this). She would buy a frozen blend that included cauliflower, broccoli and small flecks of red bell pepper. It was boiled and heaped on my plate where it would ooze water. This bothered me because I didn't want any byproduct of said veggie mix to invade the goodness of whatever else I was eating.

It's only since I've grown up and realized that normal, healthy humans eat a variety of vegetables that I started to both force myself to like them and come up with ways of preparing them that pleased my formerly picky palate. I have been especially enthusiastic about cauliflower recently and this simple soup is a great example of turning an ordinary vegetable into something special.

Cauliflower, a little wine, whole milk and a sprinkling of nutty Gruyere blends together to create a delicate tasting soup. I had the perfect wintery lunch the other day serving this soup with some crusty bread and a green salad.

For 4-6 servings:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cored and chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 3½ cups vegetable stock
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • Gruyere, for garnish

In a large pot, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and garlic, sautéing for about 15 minutes until soft and translucent.

Raise the heat to medium-high and add the cauliflower, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add the wine, and bring to a boil. Cook, allowing the alcohol to evaporate, about 2 minutes more. Stir in the stock, bring to a boil, and then lower the heat and simmer the soup for 20-25 minutes until the cauliflower is very soft.

Puree the soup with an immersion blender, or, blend it in batches in a food processor or blender. For an extra-smooth texture, pour the soup through a sieve. Return the soup to the pot over medium heat. Stir in the milk, taste and add salt if needed. Cook until heated through and serve, sprinkled with some freshly grated Gruyere.


Unplanned Cooking said...

I'm still not sure I like cauliflower. It's not the taste of it; I actually prefer the taste to broccoli. It's the smell of it.

Your soup looks great!

Kris said...

My mom came from that same school of veggie cooking and yes, the veggie dribble was most off putting.
I haven't tried a cauliflower soup yet, but love it roasted with some cumin, etc and even gently steamed.