Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall = Soup

As soon as fall started appearing around here, I got excited to start making soup. Maybe a leeetle too excited. I just really like soup okay?

I also really like cauliflower, especially when the word 'creamy' is involved. And the word 'bacon'.

This velvety soup is so comforting, and extremely easy. Pureed cauliflower, shallots, and chicken stock, thickened with a bit of cream, and topped with some prosciutto-toasted bread crumbs, this soup is hearty and fairly healthy. You could easily cut out some of the butter and the cream, and I suppose the prosciutto, but then you would really just have creamed cauliflower, and that's no fun. But, whatever mixes your meatloaf I guess.

Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Prosciutto Breadcrumbs

4 tablespoons butter
4 medium-large shallots, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
2 medium heads cauliflower, cut into 2-inch florets
5 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper
6 ounces prosciutto or pancetta, chopped into small bits (the original recipe called for chorizo, I couldn't find any, but prosciutto worked beautifully and tasted great)
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

In a large heavy pot, melt the butter and add the shallots, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Saute until the shallots have softened and have slightly caramelized, about 5-7 minutes. Add the cauliflower, chicken stock, and white wine and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook about 20 minutes, until the cauliflower is fork-tender.

Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. In small batches, puree the cauliflower mixture in a food processor, or you can use an immersion blender right in the pot. Make sure to puree it thoroughly, it may separate if the cauliflower bits are too large and heavy. I let each batch process for at least 30 seconds.

Pour soup back into empty pot, and place over medium-low heat to heat it back up. Stir in the cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.

While this comes back up to temperature, sauté the prosciutto in a small non stick skillet over medium heat until it becomes crispy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the panko and toss with the prosciutto. Toast, stirring frequently, until the breadcrumbs are brown and crispy.

Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the prosciutto mixture. Serve immediately.


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