Saturday, September 23, 2006

Cauliflower Soup

At Erin's request, here is some information on how I make cauliflower soup.

1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
1 to 2 cut up onions
Salt, pepper
Oil or butter for frying the onions and other vegs
Flour to thicken the soup. (Starchy potatoes might do it for you.)

Your choice of other vegetables -- some or all:
  • 5 medium potatoes (add at beginning)
  • 1 cup cut up carrots and or celery (add at beginning)
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper or smaller amt. of hot pepper (add towards the end)
  • creative other choices that you like with cauliflower
Your choice of spice:
  • Indian: mustard seeds, black sesame (kala jeera), fennel, bay leaf, hot peppers.
  • No Indian spices? Use curry powder.
  • European: dill, parsley, cumin or caraway seeds, bay leaf, paprika, or fines herbs (chives, marjoram...)
  • Strange: a teaspoon of Chinese chili-garlic sauce
Your choice of liquid, about 1 quart to start with:
  • milk, stock, or water to cover vegetables
Your choice of garnishes:
  • parsley, fresh dill, diced red onion, fresh cilantro, chopped tomato, sweet or hot peppers, carrot rounds...
  • shredded cheese, sour cream, or yogurt
Stir fry the spices and onions in oil or butter. Add potatoes/carrots/celery and brown slightly. Add cauliflower and stir to coat with flavored oil and other vegetables. Add the liquid (around 4 cups), salt, pepper, and any spices that would not survive frying. Bring to a boil then simmer till vegetables are soft -- add peppers towards the end. Mash some of the vegetables with a potato masher or blend some in blender or food processor, choosing the consistency and amount of whole vegetables that you like. I don't recommend blending everything, but if you want a smooth soup, go ahead.

If the result is not thick enough, dissolve some flour in butter or liquid, stir some hot liquid into the flour mixture (to avoid lumps), then slowly add to soup. Too thick? Add more liquid. Bring soup back to simmer until it is thickened as you like it. Soup can rest at this point for several hours or even overnight. If you are keeping it more than a few hours, it should be refrigerated.

To serve, reheat and garnish hot soup with any or all of the garnishes. Or let diners garnish their own soup. You can also serve this soup cold with sour cream and green herbs.

  • If you used broccoli instead of cauliflower, it would be broccoli soup. I don't think I'd cook broccoli soup with potatoes, but otherwise it would be similar.
  • If you used only potatoes and more onions, you obviously would end up with potato soup.
  • You could use leeks and potatoes -- that would be very carefully washed leeks, chopped in small slices. This is a classic cold soup when blended very smooth.
I believe it was Erdos who said that a mathematican was a device for turning coffee into theorems. This recipe is a method for turning arbitrary vegetables into soup.

No comments: