Sunday, March 8, 2009

Cauliflower + Blue Cheese Soup

BEFORE you write this post off because you don't care for either of the ingredients listed prominently in its title, let me assure you that this tastes strongly of NEITHER cauli or blue cheese. Rather, it is a rich, creamy marriage of the two that belongs in a fondue pot, not your soup bowl. But wait! It's not just a vat of cheese! You can eat it! 

Because I have recently developed a taste for blue cheese in small quantities and because Whole Foods recently had their Amish blue cheese on sale (wagons right there on the label and everything), I picked up a hunk and promptly started trolling the interweb for ways to use it. 

Thankfully, I quickly came upon this recipe on Epicurious (basically the online database for Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines, plus some others). Their recipe serves four, this one will make about 2 hefty mugs-full: 

Cauliflower and Blue Cheese Soup
1/2 lb. cauliflower florets
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 onion, chopped
1 small leek, chopped (white and light green parts only)
1/3 cup chopped celery
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 oz blue cheese
1 Tbsp white wine, sherry, or worcestershire 

First, you need to cook the cauliflower, which can be done in several ways. Either dump them in a pot of boiling water for about 8 minutes, until they're tender and drain. Or put them in a microwave-safe bowl with a little bit of water, cover with plastic and zap for about 4 minutes. Drain well. 

In a medium-large pot, melt the butter over medium heat, and add the onions, leeks, celery, and drained cauliflower. Saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the flour and cook 2 minutes. 

Slowly introduce the chicken broth in 3 additions, stirring to incorporate each time and scraping the bottom to get all that good brown stuff (*vocabulary alert = this is called the fond*) off the pot and into your soup. Add the milk and reduce heat to low. Simmer 20 minutes. 

Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender and puree about a minute, until creamy. Return to pot and add blue cheese, whisking to melt. Add the wine or worcestershire, whatever you have around.

Serve with toasted bread. You'll be mentally whisked to a Swiss chalet where a man named Georg (pronounced 'gay-org')  is wearing a cable knit sweater and a pair of skis, yodeling instructions on how to put your money in an anonymous, tax-free account. It's that good. 

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