Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Gordon Ramsay's Cream of Cauliflower Soup


Gordon Ramsay's Cream of Cauliflower soup
After watching the Hairy Bikers talk about cauliflower on the BBC's Great British Food Revival the other week, we decided to try and find some interesting recipes for it. We've previously only used cauliflower as an accompaniment to a roast meat, or had it with cheese sauce at The Parents'. We were inspired by the recipes from the programme, but knowing full well that our local Morrisons and Lidl would not stock Romanesco cauliflower, we decided to find something else.

I'd previously made cauliflower and broccoli soup, but the cauliflower was overshadowed and just bulked out the soup. I also have memories of a childhood visit to a small bookshop and cafe in St Andrews in Scotland where I had the most lovely cauliflower soup, and I've never properly attempted to recreate it. So soup it was.

A quick search on the internet found this Gordon Ramsay recipe on the Good Food website. Surely a recipe from Gordon would be a safe bet. We didn't do the mushrooms, as we wanted to taste the soup just as it was.

Recipe (directly taken from Good Food, without the mushroom section)

1 large cauliflower (about 1.3kg/3lb), stalks discarded and florets chopped
1 large potato, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1 medium onion , chopped
25g butter
4 tbsp olive oil
1.2l light chicken or vegetable stock
600ml full-fat milk
142ml carton double cream
1-2 tbsp finely snipped chives

1. Put the cauliflower, potato and onion in a large saucepan with the butter and half of the oil. Gently heat the contents until they start to sizzle, then cover with a lid and sweat over a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The vegetables should be softened but not coloured.




2. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, then pour in the milk and return gently to a boil. This way, there will be no scum forming from the milk. Season to taste then simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Pour in half the cream.





3. Blend everything in a food processor or blender, in batches. For an extra creamy texture, push the purée through a sieve with the back of a ladle. Stir in the rest of the cream. (If preparing ahead cool, cover and chill for up to a day.)

4. Check for seasoning and ladle into warmed bowls. Sprinkle lightly with the chives.

This soup was fantastic. The specific yet subtle flavour of the cauliflower came through well. The texture of the potato was there but not too overpowering, and the creaminess was just right.
One thing to note with this soup was that it was rather thin. It would work well as a starter when you don't want anything too heavy, or as a light lunch (especially with no bread). What it lacked in thickness it certainly made up for in flavour. This soup has more lovely cauliflower flavour than any boiled florets alongside a roast dinner. We will certainly be making this soup again.

Again? This leads to another issue. One which was raised in the BBC's Great British Food Revival. British farmers now only receive around 20% of the retail value of each cauliflower which has decreased recently (according to the programme), and most cauliflowers in the supermarkets are imported. Why should this be? Especially since one farmer interviewed for the programme said that cauliflowers were grown all year round in this country.
Our next mission was to find local or British cauliflowers for our next recipe.
Morrisons (at the time) didn't have any British in, but Lidl did, and on offer for 79p. Plus we've since bought local from Kenyon Hall Farm (£1.20) and have noticed that the stock in Morrisons is now British (£1.98).

We will no longer think of cauliflower as a vegetable just to go with a roast or cheese, and we will continue to try different ways of using it.

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