Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Beige Food Isn't Always Awful - Cauliflower & Parmesan Soup

Everyone loves a comedy tea cup right?
Yes, yes, it's November and it's getting chilly and oh how lovely is all that kale in the shops, and isn't slow cooking amazing blah blah blah. Anyone with the slightest interest in food and cooking knows this, yet every year it's rammed down our throats with almost as much enthusiasm as January diets. It's true though, we do need something to warm us up, a fresh zingy salad just isn't what we need or want, and though a big fat stew might be a bit much for lunch, soup provides us with endless opportunities to eat cheaply, use up bits from the fridge, saving room for 6 hour ox cheek for dinner. Don't get stuck in a soup rut though; so many times I dismiss soup as being mundane (although I when I was a child it was the only thing I'd order in a restaurant) but then I give it a go and don't regret it. Branch out and try something new, leek and potato is great and all that but 'meh'. 

Feeds 2 with a bit leftover for another day, so 3 really. In a large saucepan gently fry a chopped onion in a generous knob of butter until completely soft. Add a chopped clove of garlic and a head of cauliflower broken into little florets. Give it a good stir to slick it with the melted butter and add approximately one litre of chicken stock (just add some water if you don't have enough). Pop the lid on, bring to the boil and let it simmer for about 7 minutes, until the cauliflower is of school dinner worthy texture. Season very generously, it will take a lot of salt, and grate in some nutmeg*, maybe half a reaspoon, again, you can be quite generous. Once cooled a little, blitz with a stick blender until mostly smooth (I have no problem with a lump or two, but you might), stir in a good handful of grated Parmesan and check for seasoning. Pour into bowls or over-sized mugs and add some garlicky croutons, or go all out and make mini cheese on toasts to float on top. Do sprinkle with extra Parmesan though. 

It might not knock your socks off but it will make you feel good and sometimes that is more important. 

*Whatever you do make sure you grate the nutmeg fresh, don't buy powdered stuff. Nutmeg lasts for ages and the fresh stuff is sooo potent and lovely. And you need it for rum punch. Oh is it not normal for rum punch to be a staple requirement?

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