I can't believe it's been over a week since we last spoke. I've been missing all of you and missing being in my happy place here at this blog. After a truly wonderful Thanksgiving trip to Louisiana - it really was - it's been a little, shall we say, stressful back home in Atlanta. We rushed back to care for this little guy that was a mess of hair and bones when we arrived. The news wasn't all too great but I can happily say he is now eating everything in sight, including dirt off the floor and anything he thinks is on my fingers/dining room table/corner of the laptop screen.
In times of stress and chaos, I turn to soup. It's just in my nature. My mom was the soup champion and I have, thankfully, gotten the good soup mojo passed down to me. There have been many a soup recipe post here at RWT and today is no exception. It's a kitchen miracle that you can take the simplest of ingredients, throw in some seasoning on hand, and make a meal out of it. Chunky or smooth. Warm or cold. It's always there to suit a mood and soothe you.
Blissfully, there was a batch of this cauliflower velouté in the freezer that I had made before the holidays. I've made versions of this soup before with celery root and it's the most versatile recipe in my repertoire, I think. A little leek or onion, some herbs, and a whiz in the blender...and you've got a soup with the most heavenly texture imaginable. You can apply this technique to almost any veggie you have. Really. The other benefit? It can be as simple or as fancy as you'd like. You can turn this into dinner party food with a little truffle oil (or shaved truffles if you're fancy-pantsy) or keep it rustic with bread crumbs and olive oil.
So where does the giveaway come in? I recently bought a copy of Martha Stewart's Cooking School. I was so impressed with it as an all-in-one kitchen guide that I bought another copy to give away. It was published last year but I feel it's one of those essential texts I want everyone to have. The chapter on soups and stocks is tremendous! If you want to win this copy for yourself (or win it and pass it along to someone who needs the information more than you!), leave a comment and tell me what your favorite soup is. That's it! Please leave an email address so I can contact the winner. I will pick a random winner on Monday, December 7th at 12 PM EST!
Cauliflower Velouté - serves 6 to 8 as a main course
- 1 large leek - cut up to the green parts, washed and drained
- 4 tbsp. butter
- 1 head white cauliflower - tough stems removed and roughly but evenly chopped
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock (this depends on size of cauliflower - you want enough stock to just cover the cauliflower)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- In a large stock pot, melt butter but do not allow it to brown. Add leeks and saute until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add chopped cauliflower and stir to combine with leeks for 1-2 minutes. Add thyme, bay leaf, and stock. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer until cauliflower is tender - this should take about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf and thyme stem. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Once cool, puree the cauliflower and its cooking liquid in batches in a blender (my Vita-Mix does this in a nanosecond - swoon-worthy!) until smooth. Return to pot and fold in heavy cream. Salt and pepper to taste. Reheat mixture and serve immediately.
- If you refrigerate this soup or freeze it, it's my opinion that it's well served by a freshening-up whiz in the blender before you reheat it. I think it helps revive the lightness and texture of it.
- Garnish ideas: toasted bread crumbs, parsley, good quality olive oil, fresh thyme leaves, large toasty croutons, shaved truffles, truffle salt or oil