Cauliflower soup, a creamy ode to soup spontaneity
Occasionally I will make a soup following the recipe very closely, or more correctly, I should say that I rarely follow a recipe closely. Reading through recipes gives inspiration. I’m sure you know what I mean.
This inspiration comes from a recipe developed for a restaurant. Interesting story! You can read the story and see the original recipe in all its glory. The recipe developers would look at the recipe below, recognize the similarity, and then shake their head in amusement.
Here’s our story:
One evening Frederick pointed out that we had not cooked together in a while. He had a brief lull in his busy schedule of practices and performances and chess tournaments. “So, let’s cook!”
Oh, the life of an 11-year-old!
I like to plan our cooking adventures in such a way that Frederick is continually learning new cooking skills. It’s not about teaching him a recipe. It’s about equipping him for a lifetime of good cooking experiences.
So what would tomorrow’s lesson be?
Scanning some on-line bookmarked recipes, I was drawn to the cauliflower soup and inspiration hit. This lesson would be about:
- Being spontaneous with the ingredients at hand.
- Wasting nothing.
Be Spontaneous: I had come home that day with two head of cauliflower for $1 a piece. I had no particular plans for the cauliflower, but the price was too good to pass up. We had also had a roast chicken for dinner which meant there would be excellent chicken broth ready by the next day.
Waste Nothing: The chicken was stuffed with quarters of a large orange bell pepper and about a dozen cloves of garlic. Along with a quartered lemon and some herbs, these veggies flavored the chicken beautifully, but had not been put to use for dinner. They ended up minced and added to the soup. This additional flavor was lush and Frederick got his first lesson in mincing, using a large chef’s knife. The already-cooked vegetables made for a good first lesson. I should have gotten some pictures. Frederick looked so proud!
So here’s our soup. You can do it our way or follow the original (here). I’m sure the other guy’s soup is also wonderful.
Cauliflower Soup Ingredients
- 1 quart hot chicken broth (bring it straight from the pot where you’ve been brewing it.)
- 1 medium head cauliflower, broken and cut into small flowerettes
- 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
- 8 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 onion, finely minced
- 1 large carrot, cubed
- 1 stalk celery, cubed
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cups cooked chicken bits (We had it left from the roast chicken.)
- 1 1/2 cups whipping cream, brought to a simmer in a separate small pot
- 1 cup cool broth, milk or water
- 2 tablespoon thickener
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cauliflower Soup Steps
- Melt the butter in a large soup pot.
- Add the garlic and onion. Sauté for a few minutes until the onion starts to become translucent.
- Add the pepper and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. The veggies may just begin to brown but do not let them burn.
- Add the carrot, celery and hot chicken broth. Simmer until the carrot is cooked through.
- Add the cauliflower and cook until the cauliflower is soft.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the veggies. I left a few flowerettes intact. They were fun to come across when eating the soup.
- Add the cream to the soup and combine well. Stir in the chicken pieces and bring the soup back to a simmer.
- Mix the thickener with the cold liquid. Stir well so there are no lumps. I like to use tapioca flour. It’s gluten-free and makes for a silky texture.
- Slowly add the thickener slurry to the hot soup, stirring constantly.
- Simmer for a few moments while the soup thickens. Do not boil.
- Serve the soup hot with garnish.
Here are a couple of garnishes we used that finish the plating but also add flavor:
- A dollop of homemade sriracha sauce, thin green onion slices with a wedge of lime
- Tiny green pepper rings with a sprinkle of smoked paprika