This was another Cooks Illustrated find. I love this recipe because it’s so creamy but doesn’t have any cream in it. It calls for putting cauliflower in two different waves because supposedly cauliflower have a different taste depending on how longer it is simmered. So cooking half of the cauliflower longer gives two different tastes and a more complex flavor. My Mom once made this soup and told me she only pureed half the cooked soup because she likes some chunks in her soup. I sort of wonder about frying up more cauliflower to throw in as a garnish–maybe next time.
CREAMY CAULIFLOWER SOUP
- 1 Head cauliflower
- 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
- 1 small onion, halved and sliced thin
- Salt and pepper
- 4 1/2-5 C water
- 1/2 tsp sherry (or white wine) vinegar
- 3 Tbsp minced fresh chives
- Pull off outer leaves of cauliflower and trim stem. Using paring knife, cut around core and remove; thinly slice core and reserve. Cut heaping 1 C of 1/2 inch florets from head of cauliflower; set aside. Cut remaining cauliflower crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices.
- Melt 3 Tbsp butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leak, onions, and 1 1/2 tsp salt; cook, stirring frequently until leek and onion are softened but not browned, about 7 minutes.
- Increase heat to medium-high; add 4 1/2 C water, sliced core, and half of sliced cauliflower, and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add remaining sliced cauliflower, return to simmer, and continue to cook until cauliflower is tender and crumbles easily, 15-20 minutes longer.
- While soup simmer, melt remaining 5 Tbsp butter in 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add reserved florets and cook, stirring frequently, until florets are golden brown and butter is browned and imparts nutty aroma, 6-8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and use slotted spoon to transfer florets to small bowl. toss florets with vinegar and season with salt to taste. Pour browned butter in skillet into small bowl and reserve for garnishing.
- Process soup in blender until smooth. Rinse out pan. Return pureed soup to pan and return to simmer over medium heat, adjusting to consistency with remaining water as needed (soup should have a thick, velvety texture but should be thin enough to settle with flat surface after being stirred) and season with salt to taste. (To be honest, I never do any of that I just throw the soup from the blender back in the saucepan and consider it done at that point and garnish as follows). Serve, garnishing individual bowls with browned florets, drizzle of browned butter, and chives and season with pepper to taste.