Lush Flavors from the Fall Farm Markets
By Jennifer Farley
Cauliflower is one of my favorite ingredients to use in soups. It creates a rich creamy texture without the cream. I use whole milk to thin out the soup, but 2% or 1% will work fine as well. When it comes to homemade soup, patience is key. Allow flavors to slowly build through caramelization of vegetables, allowing a brown glaze to form on the bottom of the pan and then using liquid to “deglaze” the brown bits. Aromatics, such as onions and garlic, should almost always be included, and a splash of wine or brandy while deglazing is a quick way to add a ton of flavor. Homemade stock makes a major difference in the final outcome, so I highly recommend making your own. A Dutch oven or heavy-bottom saucepan is an important tool, and a sturdy, powerful blender, while not essential, will improve the overall texture. Note: The roasted cauliflower garnish is best when served fresh. If preparing the soup in advance, I recommend roasting the garnish before serving.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields: 4–6 servings
- 1 large head cauliflower (2½–3 pounds), cut into florets
- 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt to taste
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 3 cups leeks (pale green and white parts only, 2 large), chopped
- 1 cup (approximately 2–3 ribs) celery, chopped
- ⅓ cup dry white wine
- 1 large clove garlic, smashed
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, either homemade or low sodium
- ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1½ cup whole milk (and more as needed)
- Optional: fresh chives for garnish
Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss the cauliflower florets with approximately 1 tablespoon olive oil and spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the cauliflower until golden brown and tender, tossing once midway through, approximately 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside 1½–2 cups of florets for garnishing the soup.
While the cauliflower is roasting, heat the remaining olive oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottom saucepan over medium-low heat. Keep a small cup of water nearby. Add the leeks and celery to the pan with a pinch of salt and sweat the vegetables for several minutes. A brown glaze will eventually begin forming on the bottom of the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of water to deglaze the pan, stirring the brown bits back into the vegetables. Repeat this process for approximately 5 minutes until the leeks are lightly caramelized, then deglaze with the white wine. Add the smashed garlic, stock and thyme leaves and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot until the cauliflower has finished roasting.
Carefully ladle the infused stock mixture and roasted cauliflower into a blender and purée, in batches if necessary, until silky. Return the soup to the pot and stir in the milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Before serving, garnish each bowl of soup with roasted cauliflower and chives, if using.
The Gourmet Kitchen will be released by Simon & Schuster on October 25, 2016. The book is a compilation of over 100 recipes covering breakfast through dessert, showcasing Jennifer Farley’s favorites. Some have been in her family for generations, like her grandmother’s crab cakes. Farley finds inspiration everywhere, from culinary school to her travels around the world. Most of the recipes evolved through experimenting with the techniques she learned while training at L’Academie de Cuisine. The recipes are geared toward casual dinner parties, a leisurely weekend meal or a romantic dinner for two. They are everyday gourmet recipes for the home cook.