This time of year is cosy, makes you want to grab a cable knit, sit in front of the fire, hold mugs of chocolate for the Gram yeah, yeah yeah, we know.
I’m sure you’re absolutely SICK of food writers giving you the usual “it’s Winter…” spiel so I’ll save you the trouble.
It’s winter. It’s cold. We like to hunker down. We like to eat soups this time of year.
Now that, that’s out of the way. Let’s get into the real reason we’re here. THIS SOUP. I really can’t get over how incredible this soup is.
A few months back my mother made a Cauliflower Cheese Soup which is every bit as amazing as you could imagine. I knew I wanted to steal the concept for my own Kitchen and I knew I wanted to pimp it a little.
Cauliflower, while it comes with a tangle of it’s own benefits and delights, needs friends. It’s like that really good singer in the girl band with a lovely voice, really likeable personality, really pretty… but just can’t hold it’s own without being decorated to the hilt with other vocalists to bring it to life.
Fine. Cauliflower is Kimberly Walsh. There. I said it.
So enter blue cheese. There is a depth and almost sour meatiness to blue cheese that whacks you around the cheeks, so when it’s combined with the nursery hug of creamy cauliflower, it’s such an intricate but welcome balance of flavours.
And the burnt butter is just something I can’t recommend enough. I love a little crunch with my soup, whether this be crusty bread or crackers I’m not fussy, but there’s something treacly about burnt butter and hazelnuts that just adds a crackle and a crunch to the velvet soup that is irresistible to me. Kind of like a crunchy, savoury caramel.
So even if you don’t have the open fire, the cable knit, the mug of hot chocolate and the Instagram picture to prove it – this soup is the one this Winter.
First off you’ll save some time and energy later if you rip the outer leaves off of a cauliflower and roughly chop it up before you do anything else.
Grab yourself a celery stick and a leek. Roughly chop them and then in your deepest pan, heat some olive oil and throw in the celery/leek.
Salt and pepper them up before sprinkling in some fresh thyme leaves.
Now empty in your chopped cauliflower and stir everything as best as your wooden spoon will allow – the cauli will be big and boasty at this point. Don’t worry, it’ll soften.
Now fling in a good, generous fistful of crumbly blue cheese.
Pour in a good litre or so of vegetable stock – don’t be precious over litre, just cover the damn cauli. I use homemade (my Lazy Stock which you can read more about in my free ebook here) but a stock cube and water will be fine if you’re struggling.
Bring it to a boil, clamp on a lid, lower the temp and let simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes until the cauliflower is soft and will dismantle when pressed with a spoon.
Carefully blitz the pan’s contents into a creamy, velvety soup either with a hand blender or in a freestanding one.
Leave to rest while you get on with your butter. You could do away with this part but… well… don’t.
Throw a handful of hazelnuts into a pestle and mortar and bash down to a scruffy rubble.
Add a tablespoon of salted butter to a small saucepan and melt it down on a medium heat. Keep stirring the butter on the heat while it foams up. Be careful because underneath that foam the butter is gently turning brown.
Keep checking under the foam and once you see it start to go gold and slightly brown, take it off the heat.
Throw in the hazlenuts and stir it up so the absorb up the golden butter.
Pour the soup into bowls, spoon over the nut butter and throw yourself into winter.