It’s a little hard to believe, but when I was little, I was the pickiest most annoying eater you can imagine. I disliked almost anything that wasn’t meat or cookies. And I ate around the same amount a country sparrow does. And I hated crumbs around my plate with a passion. My mom tells me I used to obsessively pick them up one by one and put them back in the plate. I loathed when people tried to feed me more than three spoonfuls per meal. So much so that I once threw a chicken leg at my father. (I know). And don’t even get me started on vegetables. I don’t think there was one I liked. (except for mushrooms but they don’t count as vegetables. they are too delicious) None of them seemed sugary, crumbly or meaty enough for me. And among those was cauliflower, which had a big place on the house table. As I grew older, I started to venture out a bit more, and I came to like a few of those green critters. But cauliflower always remained in my eyes as a glorified broccoli with no flavor, even if it’s cloudy shape was as endearing as a baby sheep to an 8 year old. And then somewhere after I went from eating nothing to eating everything with a shameful passion, I re-discovered cauliflower. And I came to the conclusion that it was not a glorified broccoli, but that it was it’s whiter, fluffier, softer, more subtle tasting cousin. And we became best friends after I realized that cream and cheese and an oven could transform it into puffy clouds of greatness. But not only that; when turned into a creamy soup…all I can say is that for sure no broccoli soup I’ve ever tried can match it. So I bring you today a light version of this puffy friend; a creamy cauliflower leek soup minus the cream. That way you can enjoy three platefuls of it and not feel like you might explode afterwards. But don’t think it’s any less rich because it hasn’t got cream in it. The golden leeks and nutty flavor give it a warm fulling kick that won’t make you miss it. Read more for the recipe.
Cauliflower and leek soup
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 thick leek
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 1/2 Lts. chicken stock
2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped. (Don’t chop it until you use it)
2tbsp finely chopped walnuts
1 1/3 cups milk
Take the leek and remove the one inch from the root part and on the other side, about one inch lower from where the leaves start to separate and become darker green. You’ll be left with a lot of white and a bout 1/3 of light green. Lengthwise, quarter the leek and then half each piece. Dice as thinly as you can.
Place the stock on a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and keep aside.
In a large and deep saucepan over med-high heat 2 tbsp butter and olive oil and toss in the leek. Sautee until some of them start to become golden. Add the cauliflower head and after a couple of minutes reduce the heat to med-low. Cover and cook, stirring every now and then, for 15 minutes, until the florets are soft. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover to let cook for 10 more minutes. Meanwhile whisk together in a small bowl the flour and milk. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. As soon as it bubbles, start pouring in the milk-flour mixture in a small trickle, whisking energetically. Turn the heat to med and whisking constantly, let the sauce boil until it thickens a little bit (you should be able to see the lines made by the whisk for a second before they disappear). As soon as it does, remove from the heat and set aside.
Come back to the soup; add the nuts and process with a hand blender (or reg. blender if you haven’t got one) until you can see only very few small chunks of cauliflower. Add the chopped parsley and finally add the white sauce, whisking constantly as you do. Season generously with white pepper, and a bit of salt (that’ll depend on your stock). Enjoy.
Tip: serve with raisin-nut whole wheat bread croutons; just cut it into cubes and place them in the oven until crunchy.