cream of cauliflower soup (with floating asparagus)
Continuing our recent period exploring cream soups, we try
the cauliflower route again many years after several other versions we had tried. This
time a new cooking magazine impulse buy has a recipe with a similar onion, leek, celery
base that has proved so successful so far with our other cream soups, and the photo looked
pretty convincing with the little asparagus pieces floating in the bowl. Every
recipe photographed, how could we resist.
- 4 t olive oil (we used 2 T)
- 1 small onion
- 1 celery stalk (we used 3)
- 1 leek (we used almost 2)
- salt to taste to bring out flavors
- 5 c veggie broth
- 1 head cauliflower, chopped
- 1 small potato, peeled and food processed
- 1 t dried thyme
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1-2 c lowfat milk
- 1/4 chopped parsley (optional)
- 1/2 lb asparagus, cut into 1 in pieces (optional)
- Food process the cleaned onion, celery and leek together and saute in olive oil with a
bit of salt to bring out the flavor (?) in a large flat-bottomed nonstick pot until
softened, say 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile boil the water in a teapot for the concentrated veggie broth. Combine together
and dump into the soup mixture when ready.
- Meanwhile clean the cauliflower and cut out the hard core, chop up the florets a bit. We
used the extra time to spray them lightly with olive oil and broil them on a cooking sheet
under close supervision for somewhat less than 10 minutes until they started to brown, to
precook them slightly. Probably not necessary.
- Add the broth to the base, stir in the food processed potato, dump in the cauliflower,
and add the thyme. We had some "fresh" thyme in the freezer, which we used
instead of the dried thyme.
- Simmer for about 45 minutes.
- Add the milk (amount depending on how thick you want the soup to be) and puree with a
- Optional Step. If you have a chinois (fancy funnel shaped French
strainer with a wooden wedge roller) and some patience, you can pass this through it in
several batches, rotating the wooden tool around in a circle to squeeze the puree through
the fine mesh in a slow process. We decided to help it along by pureeing further the
resistant part of the slop in our Vita-Mix super
blender. With persistence, we were able to force most of the soup through with very little
residual loss in large grain residue. This experience lessened our suspicion of this
kitchen tool, which initially impressed us as a fiber and nutrition stealer. Apparently
its main function is to refine the puree through the forcing action of wood against mesh.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and the optional parsley if desired. Then reheat through
slightly and serve.
- Optional finisher. Cook the asparagus following the standard game plan. Then cut
off the tougher lower portions to serve as a side dish and cut the tender upper halves
into 1 in pieces to add to each serving as a nice complementary touch, together with
freshly ground pepper on each serving, or Middle Eastern red pepper (paprika in a pinch)
to kick it up a notch.
- healthy cooking, February, 2003, p. 54.