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Cauliflower-Leek Soup #ChefsSecret


For the soup course for our Ab Ovo Usque Ad Mala Thanksgiving menu, I was inspired by this passage in Crystal King's The Chef's Secret* - "Soups of cauliflower, mushroom, and leeks simmered for the better part of the day. When I finally made my way home that day I was exhausted" (pg. 200).

This soup is fairly easy to make. The longest process is to caramelize the onions and the leeks though it is largely hands-off. Don't skip this step, however, as it add a delicate sweetness to the dish.You can also make this soup the day before you need to serve it. Also, I was serving a dozen guests. You can easily halve this recipe to serve a family of four with some leftovers.

Ingredients serves 12
  • 2 organic cauliflower heads
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced, approximately 1 C while raw
  • 2 to 3 leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced, approximately 1 C while raw
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 C half and half or heavy cream
  • 3 C organic vegetable broth
  • water, as needed
  • freshly ground salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste and for serving
  • organic dill sprigs to garnish

Procedure

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Quarter the cauliflower heads and place on a parchment-linked baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil.

Roast until softened and beginning to brown slightly, approximately 50 to 60 minutes. In the meantime, caramelized your onions and leeks. The trick to caramelizing onions and leeks: low heat for a long time.

Place a tablespoon of olive oil in a flat bottom pan. Add the onions and leeks and stir to coat completely with oil. Spread the onions out over the bottom of the pan. Stirring occasionally, the onions will turn from white to clear, then golden and, finally, to a deep caramel brown. It might take 40 to 60 minutes.

In batches, blend cauliflower and onions with vegetable broth until smooth. Use water if it's still too thick. Place the blended cauliflower in a large soup pot. Pour in the half and half.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Serve hot or at room temperature. To serve, ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with a sprinkling of cracked black pepper and fresh dill.

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