I have a new passion for soup making. I do it in the morning (NOT on playgroup days I might add), in my ‘jamas. It’s becoming a weekly-ish habit that I might just keep. I never used to bother with soup, but the last couple I’ve made have worked out so well, and I’m gaining in confidence. I’m learning that if you keep it simple, use quality, seasonal vegetables, a good stock or even water, good seasoning, and solid, complimentary flavours, you can’t go too far wrong really. This soup is a great way to use cauliflower up without reverting to the old fave cauliflower cheese – we do that a lot in this house. I have used cheese in the recipe but it’s definitely an optional ingredient (it just adds richness) and I used a small-ish amount, so it’s definitely not a cauliflower cheese soup. The caraway seeds are definitely the co star; I toasted two tablespoons of them first to bring out the aromatic, nutty, slightly aniseed-y flavour. It works really well. Next time I would use less stock/water to make a thicker soup, but that’s just my preference. As is, this is an averagely thick soup. May I suggest that it would be totally superb served with some crumbled rashers of streaky bacon on top if you’re doing it for special guests. I drizzled with Rapeseed oil to finish mine off, and ate with some seriously good rye bread from my local bakery J.B. Richardson’s.
Makes 2 litres of soup:
1 cauliflower, with as many leaves as you can use
1 carrot, small dice
1 celery stick, small dice
3 cloves of garlic
1 pint whole milk
2 pints of water OR 2 pints of stock (for a thicker soup just use 1 pint of stock/water)
2 tablespoons of caraway seeds, toasted
3 tablespoons of creme fraiche (or cream)
1 teaspoon of salt (if using water or a homemade, non-salted stock)
50g grano padana (or parmesan) – optional
50g mature cheddar – optional
Salt (if using commercial stock, don’t use any salt) and pepper and a nice oil, to serve
- Soften your onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil.
- Toast your caraway seeds in a pan for about 15/20 minutes over a low heat, until they smell really good and are visibly a little bit toasted – not burnt! Be carfeul, they could burn easily if you take your eye off the pan.
- After about 15 minutes, add your cauli’, in large chunks / florets. Get as many leaves as possible in there too, removing any tough stalks but keeping the smaller ones in. Also add your caraway seeds now. Let it cook out together for a minute or so.
- Pour in your milk and stock and bring to the boil. Cook for 25 minutes on a low simmer.
- Blitz in a blender. Add the grated cheeses and creme fraiche. Let it melt and warm through on a low heat.
- Season to taste. Add oil, crumbled bacon or a swirl more of creme fraiche.