In almost six years of sharing recipes on my food blog, I think this is the longest dry spell I've had in the kitchen. I was battling against heavy fatigue (wacky thyroids), and I just couldn't muster the energy to cook, photograph, write and edit a recipe post-- let alone have an appetite to eat dinner with my husband.
Most times, I'd just fall asleep within moments of arriving home, from work.
Worse, I quit visiting food blogs and reading my favorite cooking magazines. This is so out of character for me, because my happiest place, at home, is in the kitchen. I'm starting to feel better, so I'm hoping to share many of the recipes I've made, and are waiting for me to edit and write-- like this delicious soup.
Today, being Labor Day Weekend, I can start thinking about my favorite type of Fall cooking-- braising meats, making stews, baking bread and making soups for dinner. Fortunately, our climate rarely gets into the trip-digit temps that many of my East Coast and Southwestern friends endure. Plus, I do a lot of pressure cooking so that the kitchen stays nice and cool.
With our average temps in the low 70's, I had no problem making this fabulous soup, this summer. I loved it so much, that I've made it a few times. With the exception of the cauliflower "croutons" that are cooked in browned butter, this soup is low-fat-- and there is no chicken stock nor cream, in it!
One of my favorite Cooking Magazine is "Cook's Illustrated" and I also subscribe to their website, so I can watch their videos, on demand. This is where I saw this recipe, and here is CI's explanation of the recipe:
For a creamy cauliflower soup without cream, we relied on cauliflower’s low insoluble fiber content to produce a velvety smooth puree. To ensure that cauliflower flavor remained at the forefront, we cooked the cauliflower in seasoned water (instead of broth), skipped the spice rack entirely, and bolstered the soup with sautéed onion and leek. We added the cauliflower to the simmering water in two stages so that we got the grassy flavor of just-cooked cauliflower and the sweeter, nuttier flavor of long-cooked cauliflower. Finally, we fried florets in butter until both browned and used each as a separate, richly flavored garnish.
As you can see, I trimmed the "core" of the cauliflower and sliced it thin. No waste!
Leek and onion are sauteed in butter, until soft.
Half of the cauliflower, and the core, are added along with water and cooked for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, I've reserved some cauliflower florets, cut extra small. The sherry vinegar is going to play an important part in a few minutes...
Browned butter, baby! Yummy. I'm making "cauliflower croutons", and a hit of sherry vinegar gives these the perfect "pop" of flavor.
While the "croutons" were browning, I added the remaining cauliflower and cooked them for 15 more minutes. Now, it's time to purée the soup. I recently invested in a Vitamix Blender, but an immersion blender works just as well.
This is why I love our Vitamix-- it didn't take long to purée the soup until it's silky smooth. Any reserved cooking water is added, until it's just the right consistency. Taste for seasoning, and serve. Total time: 45 minutes. Serve with browned cauliflower florets, drizzle with the browned butter and garnish with fresh chives (from our herb garden).
TASTING NOTES: As promised, the texture of the soup is velvety smooth and creamy. The cauliflower florets add a great crunchy texture, and the browned butter adds an extra level of flavor and richness. The sherry vinegar adds a perfect balance of acidity. We loved this soup, and it's going to be one of our regular winter rotation recipes. It's hard to believe that there isn't any cream nor chicken stock. Fabulous!
It's been a nice summer, but we Californians are more than anxious to see rainfall. We are in the midst of one of our worst droughts and our lawn is crunchy and brown. Let's hope the Farmer's Almanac is right in prediction almost normal rainfall. Bring it on!