Saturday, April 3, 2010

cooking time!

Aaaaaand here I am, already digressing….!

However, I am currently in the process of trying to eat all the random stuff I have in my freezer here in LA before the big move, so technically this recipe probably wouldn’t have come about without the impending move… so THERE!

Disclaimers aside, I’ve had a whole head of cauliflower (cut into manageable 1-inch chunks, mind you) in my freezer for a few weeks now that I’ve been ruminating on how to use, along with enough homemade chicken stock to bathe a baby elephant, so I decided to see what I could come up with entering the words “cauliflower soup” into a few of my favorite recipe sites. Et voila, many delicious options appeared, the most enticing of which mimics the classically scrumptious recipe for potato-leek soup, with the addition of a few key embellishments…. Bacon, cheese, and truffles! Yes, yes, YES!!!!

So without further ado, this is more or less what I did (based upon a recipe from the late Gourmet, circa 2007):

- 2 strips applewood-smoked bacon, chopped (optional… but not really.)
- 2 medium leeks, dark green parts discarded, chopped
- 1 shallot, chopped (probably not necessary, but I threw one in since I had it)
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 medium cauliflower head, cut into small pieces
- 4 cups (or more) low-salt chicken (or veggie) broth
- a cup or two of milk (or heavy cream if you’re feeling extra decadent, but I didn’t have any on hand)
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1 3/4-inch cube Pecorino Romano cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano works just as well)
- a teaspoon or so of truffle oil (I didn’t have any, but used some of my beloved truffle salt, which worked quite nicely; don’t add any regular salt if you take this route)
- salt and pepper for seasoning

Sauté bacon in skillet over medium heat until golden brown and some fat renders. Add leeks, shallots and garlic. Cover and cook until vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes, then transfer vegetables to a large soup pot. Add cauliflower to the empty bacon skillet (most likely in batches, unless you have a gigantic skillet) and sauté until the cauliflower takes on a little golden color and starts to smell nutty and delicious. Add the sautéed cauliflower to the soup pot, along with the cheese cube and about 3 cups broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 20 minutes.

Puree soup in batches in a blender (I had to add a lot of liquid here to get it to blend smoothly; about another cup of broth and a cup of milk). Return pureed soup to same pot. Add wine and bring soup to a low boil. Once the alcohol has cooked off, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with some shaved cheese, and if you have it, drizzle with truffle oil. UGHHH so delicious it hurts!

Obviously you can make this vegetarian using olive oil instead of the bacon, and pretty much everything can be subbed out for something else (oh, the beauty of cooking!) so please experiment and get back to me if you come up with any tasty variations!

And I promise to stop SUCKING and start taking PHOTOS of all of this gloriousness, so no worries. There's always room for improvement, after all.... :)

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