Monday, November 07, 2005

Cauliflower Chemistry

Make a pureed soup -- you'll love it.

This is my first, and I'm already hooked. A friend at the place where I used to work (!) gave me a recipe for creamy cauliflower soup, in which a gloriously rich texture is achieved by pureeing the soup base and adding more goodies afterward. Let me explain, and you'll see how you could not possibly go wrong.

You begin by browning some sliced chorizo sausage in a pot. You remove the browned meat and soften some onion in the rendered chorizo fat. Then you add chicken stock (I used Swanson brand, which my mom recommended as her preferred canned chicken broth; she was right -- I liked its subtle flavor much better than Campbell's or College Inn's), lots of chopped cauliflower, and a bit of sliced potato. Once the vegetables are tender, you puree the contents of the pot in a blender until smooth. Doing this in two or three batches is the easiest way.

Chorizo browning aside, this is when things got interesting. Ladling great steaming portions of tasty stuff into a blender is fantastic, but it's even more fun to pour a thick, hot puree back into the pot and see an incredibly sensuous and substantial soup take shape before your eyes. It was one part chemistry, one part alchemy, and one part magic.

Frankly I could have added salt and stopped right there. Besides, my supply of cooked chorizo was dwindling by the minute as I nibbled away at it. But wait, there's more: I turned the heat back on beneath the puree and added 2 cups of small cauliflower florets (set aside from the single large head I used for the soup), a bunch of washed and chopped spinach, the juice of a lemon, and what was left of the chorizo. Awesome.

Margy came home to a bowl of hot soup and a warm slice of good bread and thought I was a magician. Nope -- maybe an alchemist at best.


Caryn said...

This sounds really tasty -- and comforting. For some reason it reminds me of the Portuguese kale soup I like to make in the winter. Perhaps I'll send you the recipe to test out for Margy.

the cook said...

It's shockingly comforting. I would love to try your Portuguese kale soup!