Saturday, November 14, 2015

An Easy Rich Soup; An Amazing Stock

Happy Fall at last!  How are your preparations for cold weather going?  For you growers out there, have you taken good care of your growing areas before the first frost arrives?  Along with all of the other chores related to winter prep,  as soon as I feel the slightest nip in the air, I start looking at everything I have on hand as potential Soup!

I love soup and I don't mind eating hot soup in warmer weather either.  There is just something about a hot bowl of delicious soup and a piece of warm bread - along with the wonderful aromas wafting up into your nose - that is so comforting.

We have been eating a lot of cauliflower lately because our Farmers are bringing them to market and they are beautiful and good for you and versatile and all of that.  However, I am not a fan of cauliflower "steaks" or cauliflower "pizza crust" (that really frightens me), and some of the other "creative" uses of the vegetable that I have seen lately.  Usually we just tend to do a saute' or a bake, sometimes with cheeses and lots of herbs; we even do a mash and whip now and then.  But I just decided that the next head of cauliflower that we brought home was destined for soup.  This soup is so rich it can rightfully be called a chowder.

Rich & Delicious Cauliflower Soup
Cream of Cauliflower Soup


1 stick of unsalted butter, halved
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced (use the leaves too)
1 small clove of garlic, mashed
1 head of cauliflower, core removed and rough chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, chopped
1 quart unsalted or low salt chicken stock
3 tablespoons of regular flour
1 cup of whole milk
1/2 cup of half and half
salt to taste - about two teaspoons used at different levels of cooking
1/2 cup of good sour cream


Melt the 1/2 of the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat,  (a Dutch Oven works well)
Add the onion, cook, stirring occasionally just until it starts to get a light brown color
Add the carrots and the celery and sauté, stirring occasionally for a couple of minutes - until they soften
Add the cauliflower, the garlic, and the parsley and stir to combine; this would be a good time to salt a bit
Cover the pot and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes
Note:  At this point if you are going after a smoother soup, you can do a bit of mashing of the cauliflower and other veg.

At the end of 15 minutes, stir in your chicken stock and bring the mixture to a boil
Reduce heat and simmer
While the mixture is simmering, melt the rest of the butter, mix the flour with the milk - give it a good whisk to incorporate - and then slowly add the milk mixture to the melted butter, whisking the entire time.
Remove the butter, milk and flour mixture from the heat and stir in the half and half
Add the mixture to the simmering soup.

Simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste

Note:  At this point I used my immersion blender to create an even smoother soup.  I left a few small chunks of cauliflower.  You don't have to do this.  If you don't have an immersion blender, add by batches into a blender.
Just before service, add the sour cream into the hot soup and stir well to combine.

Serve immediately and enjoy!
(recipe adapted from the Pioneer Woman, 2009)

Parmesan Rind Stock just getting started

This next recipe makes a rich and delicious stock that brings an incredible depth of flavor to soups, sauces and risotto.

Parmesan Rind Stock


4 - 5 saved rinds of good Parmesan Cheese (if you wrap the rinds well in wax paper and keep them in a storage bag, they will keep for a couple of months in your refrigerator; when you have accumulated enough rinds, it's time to make the broth!)

2-3 celery stalks, with leaves, coarse chopped
A large onion, halved
Two or three whole garlic cloves (smash them a bit if you want more garlic flavor)
1 Tablespoon of whole black peppercorns
2 Bay leaves
 Cold water


Cover everything in the pot with the cold water (to about 2 inches above)
Bring the mixture to a Boil; lower to a simmer, cover and let it simmer for up to 4 hours.  Stir occasionally. Add a bit of water if needed.

Strain the broth very well.  You want it very clear.  It will be a caramel like color.

Note:  If you make your own stocks feel free to add in whatever aromatics and veg you use in other stocks.  I had onion grass from the garden so I chopped up some of that as well.  I also do not salt stock.  It is up to you.  You can add a small pinch of salt at the end after you strain the stock, but the stock will be more versatile if you add salt and pepper when using it.

Cherish Real Food!

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