Take the seasonal bounty of fresh cauliflower and whir it into great vegetable soup. In less than an hour--from start to finish--you have the perfect opener for a fall dinner menu, or a great main course for a family meal.
The speed with which this soup can be made is surprising. But using the food processor offers such shortcuts. The breakthrough here is that the trimmed raw cauliflower is processed to a very finely minced texture. When added to vegetable flavorings and simmered with stock, it cooks completely in about 30 minutes and is soft enough to become a smooth puree.
Cooks in Less Time
This same pre-mincing technique also can be used for vegetable soups such as broccoli, carrot, spinach and mushroom. Pre-mincing will help speed the cooking time because the bits of vegetable are very small when they go into the pot.
When the vegetables are pureed with stock and other liquids, the soup is ready to serve. No further cooking is required, and the creamy texture is achieved from the vegetable puree. No other thickeners are required.
Cauliflower Soup is a good match for a main course of lamb, veal, beef or game. If it is used as a main course for an informal dinner, it could be preceded by green salad and accompanied with a flavorful homemade bread, or garlic bread.
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
4 small onions, peeled and cubed
3 tablespoons butter
1 (2-pound) bunch cauliflower, trimmed
3 cups chicken broth
Salt, freshly ground pepper
Several dashes hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 green onion, green part only, thinly sliced
Insert metal blade in dry processor container. Mince garlic by adding to machine with motor running. Add onions and process with half-second pulses to coarsely chop. Transfer ingredients to 4-quart soup kettle or Dutch oven. Add butter and stir over low heat until onions soften, about 5 minutes.
Break cauliflower into pieces and mince in 2 batches with 1-second pulses, emptying container into kettle. Stir over medium heat until cauliflower softens, about 6 minutes. Add broth, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, hot pepper sauce and sage. Cover and simmer until cauliflower is completely softened, about 30 to 35 minutes. Add half-and-half and cream. Heat to boiling, then remove from heat and set aside.
With metal blade, puree soup in 2-cup batches until texture turns milky and smooth, about 1 minute. Return soup to kettle, stir well and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately, garnished with green onion. Makes 8 servings.