Sunday, November 7, 2010

Creamy Cauliflower Soup from Ayers Creek Farm

Last time I visited Ayers Creek Farm in Gaston, Oregon, Carol Boutard invited me to lunch. The creamy cauliflower soup was to-die-for delicious and I wanted the recipe.

This past Friday, I got a card from Carol with two recipes, one for curried stock and one for a cauliflower soup. When I was at the market on Saturday, I got the cauliflower and celery from Willie Greens Organic farm and carrots and potatoes from Let Us Grow (who, by-the-way, needs farm help desperately or they may not return to the market next spring.)
Anyway, back to soup and stocks. I have to admit, I often cheat and add the vegetables, herbs, and spices to the water for soup instead of layering with stock. But I wanted this recipe to turn out, so I made the stock first. And when I was finished, I remembered that stock doesn't really take much time at all, even for a lazy cook like me.
Here's the recipe:

Curried Soup Stock

(6 cups stock)

2 carrots with tops, roughly chopped

2 celery stalks with leaves, roughly chopped

1 small onion, skin removed, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small potato, chopped

Handful of parsley, chopped

5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

2 or 3inch stick of cinnamon

6 cloves

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds

1 teaspoon salt

8 cups cold water

Place carrots, celery, and onion in a heavy frying pan on medium heat. Add olive oil, stir and cook until onion is wilted and celery and carrots begin to soften—about 10 minutes.

Place remaining ingredients in a soup pot. Add the cooked vegetables, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes over medium-low heat. Strain stock to use in curried soups and stews. This is also a great stock for cooking grains.

What I recall most vividly about lunch with Anthony and Carol Boutard was the warmth of the early autumn sun, the Indian spices simmering on the stove top, the grated marinated carrots and beets and the peppers drying in the sun streaming in the windows.

Carol's cauliflower soup was creamy without being overloaded with fat, and the flavor had a subtle curry tone. With each bite I wanted another, and I was sad to see this meal come to an end. After I got home, I emailed Anthony and Carol saying that I'd love to have the recipe, and when I got it, it was a gift that filled my day with sunshine and delicious memories.

Autumn is the perfect season for dipping into a steaming bowl of homemade soup, and the second day, this soup reheated is even better. I made a few changes, but have listed them as optional. (I haven't met a recipe yet that I don't try to tweak in one way or another.)

Here's the recipe:

Spiced Creamy Cauliflower Soup

(Serves 6)

1 large potato, peeled and chopped into cubes

1 small cauliflower, roughly chopped

1 onion, peeled and chopped (or 1 cup chopped shallots)

1 red pepper, chopped (optional)

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons water

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 to 3 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

1 to 2 teaspoons tumeric

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1/2 to 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)

2 to 3 teaspoons chopped Mama Lil’s peppers or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

4 cups curried vegetable stock

2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)

1 cup plain yogurt

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Croutons (optional)

1/4 cup or more chopped fresh parsley

Place potato, cauliflower, onion, and red pepper into a large pot over a medium heat. Add the olive oil and stir to coat. Add 1/4 cup of water, cover pot until bubbling, then reduce heat and cook for about 10 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, ginger, spices, sugar and Mama Lil’s, if desired. Cook for about 2 minutes, then pour in stock and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.

Puree in blender a few cups at a time. (Start with 1 cup, then add more soup to make 2.) Stir in lemon juice, yogurt and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Garnish with croutons and parsley.

Next time I make this soup, I'll try adding a sweet potato to the mix--peeled and chopped, added in the beginning. And instead of yogurt, I'd add more lemon juice and maybe 1/4 cup almond or cashew butter to give that creamy mouth-feel texture--just a thought for moving in a vegan direction. One of the fun things about soup is tweaking it in new directions. My Cooking Assistant can't wait to get started.


Kathy said...

Your post made me realize I haven't made stock in a long time. You make it sound very easy and creative. I may have to get my stock pot out and get some cooking! How nice to get a recipe from a friend and use it as a taking off point, then adding your own favorite touches.

Debra Daniels-Zeller said...

Ah the stock. It's always fun to receive a recipe you really like. I can't wait to take it in new directions with my idea for adding sweet potatoes.

Joan said...

These recipes sound wonderful and perfect timing with cold weather on the way. Thanks for relaying them. I love making soup and just bought a head of cauliflower yesterday. hmmm, guess what I'll be doing tomorrow. :)

Debra Daniels-Zeller said...

Thanks Joan. Soup is like edible art and it fills the house with such wonderful scents, and when recipes come from friends, it's like a gift you can make over and over.