Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cream of Cauliflower Soup


I have not intended this blog become a soup blog, but it seems to have done that lately.  Ah, well.  I love soup.  Often I will declare a week to be soup week, just so I can cook pots upon pots of soup and then tuck in with a good book, a good blanket, and a good spoon.  Given that it's fall now (happy late equinox), it's time to bring the comfort back to cooking.  The level of comfort that soup can bring is cliche, yes, but clear.



This little soup has the lovely taste of tarragon, an herb I do not use nearly enough, but every time that I do, I am delighted by its light and oh-so-French flavor.  Beyond flavor though, tarragon has a wonderful etymology.  Tarragon is also called dragon's wort.  What delight.  In fact, the name English Tarragon itself comes as a corruption of the French name for the herb Esdragon, which itself comes its Latin name Artemisia dracunculus.  This herb, like other Dragon herbs, got its name from its ability to reduce the swelling and pain in bites and stings--maybe not the bite or sting of a dragon, but close enough.  French tarragon (there is also a Russian tarragon that is not quite as tart) grows to about two feet tall and has long, narrow leaves (the edible part of the herb).  The roots also used to be used in curing toothaches.  And to boot, tarragon is closely related to wormwood, of Hamlet and Harry Potter fame.


Beyond the tarragon in this soup, you must also embrace the cauliflower.  I have always been a fan of this cousin of cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts, and broccoli.  In fact, I remember being even only five or six and loving the slightly bitter, cruciferous vegetable.  Granted in my youth, my mother over boiled them and slathered them in cheese sauce (as any good Midwesterner will do), but I admit, if that's the gateway preparation to get kids to eat cauliflower, I say embrace it.  This recipe, however, does not require either over boiling or a suspect cheese sauce.  Instead, a simple parboiling and then pureeing with a potato and some cream (or milk if you prefer), and you have a lovely cream soup that will sustain you into the autumn.


P.S.  I have lost my camera.  All of my photos are iphone photos now.  I must remedy this soon.


One Year Ago: Masala Dosa

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Cream of Cauliflower Soup
Adapted from  The Best Soups in the World

Yield:
4-6 Servings

Ingredients:  
4 cups chicken broth
1 cauliflower, about 2 pounds, trimmed and broken into florets
1 small boiling potato, about 5 ounces, peeled and diced
2 tarragon sprigs
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper (white is preferable)
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon

Instructions:
1.  In a large pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil over medium-high heat, then add the cauliflower and potato with the two sprigs of tarragon, cover, and cook until very tender, about 15 minutes.

2.  Transfer the vegetables to the blender, and blend until smooth.  Return the puree to the pot, add the cream and stir.  Add the curry powder, nutmeg, lemon juice, salt and pepper and heat over medium heat until hot.  Serve sprinkled with the chives and tarragon for garnish.




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