We don't usually think of June and soup in the same breath. Especially in the Okanagan. But this June, oh yeahhhhh, this is it. Soup weather. Unseasonably cool, soggy days beg me to make something that warms the belly. And the soul. Soup it is.
I got all retro yesterday and simmered up one of the favorites from the way-back-when days in Kelowna from our old restaurant, Chianti's. I always knew when I made a big pot of this easy peasy, really hearty cauliflower soup that I would run out before the lunch rush was over. And I did! No matter how much I made.
So yesterday Girl Guide motto intact, Be Prepared, I made my soup ahead so the flavours could co-mingle and get happy, happy. Then, as if on cue, by dinner time the weather was so cooperative, with dark grey, rainy skies and chilly breezes. Soup time! And contrary to what Mick might say, I can get some satisfaction. With every hot spoonful of this creamy chowder, overloaded with cauliflower and laced with oozy, melty cheddar and lots of black pepper, satisfaction. Indeed! Oh, and we had those addictive little, hot from the oven Garlic Knots to dip in our soup too. Yum-O! And hey, hey, hey that's what I say.
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Here we go.............Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Reduce heat, add chopped onions and saute 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the onions are just barely starting to caramelize.
Add flour, making a very thick roux. Reduce heat and stir roux 3-4 minutes just until it starts to get toasty golden brown. This gives the soup a hint of nutty goodness.
Meanwhile toss prepared cauliflower into a medium pot with 4 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer just until cauli is al dente.
After the roux is browned and the cauli is cooked, but not quite........whisk the reserved chicken broth from the cauliflower and the remaining broth into the roux until smooth. Add the cauli and the seasonings to the pot, simmer, stir and finally the cream is added.....and voila!
CREAM OF CAULI SOUP - Serves 6-8
¼ cup butter
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 medium Vidalia, Walla Walla, Maui or other sweet onion, chopped
½ cup flour
About 6 cups cauliflower (medium head) broken and cut into small florets and bite-size pieces
7 cups homemade or good quality chicken broth
6 shakes of Worcestershire sauce
¾ teaspoon dried dillweed
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon sea or Kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
Sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Melt the butter with the olive oil over medium high heat. Add chopped onion. Reduce heat to medium and sauté onion about 5-6 minutes until it is just barely starting to caramelize, stirring now and then.
Reduce heat to medium low and stir in flour to make a very thick roux. Stir and turn the roux over low heat 3-4 minutes until it starts to get a tiny bit of a happy, golden-toasty tinge to it.
In the meantime combine cauliflower with 4 cups chicken broth in pot over high heat. Bring to a boil and simmer gently 5-8 minutes until cauliflower is just barely fork tender.
Carefully drain the cauliflower reserving the broth. Whisk reserved broth and remaining 2 cups of chicken broth into the roux over low heat. Continue stirring until mixture is smooth. Increase heat to medium-high and whisk or stir just until bubbles break the surface. Reduce heat, add cauliflower, Worcestershire sauce, dillweed, black pepper and salt, stirring to make sure the flavours simmer into one-ness. Pour in heavy cream, stirring just long enough to heat through. Ladle soup into bowls and top with some grated cheddar. Satisfaction guaranteed.