Cauliflower Soup With Bacon
(from Serious Eats, here)
10 oz bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets (around 2 pounds, can sub frozen cauliflower just fine)
1 quart homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
1 bunch scallions, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced, green parts sliced, separately
1 onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 cup half & half or heavy cream
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Begin by cooking down your bacon.
Use the trick from rendering lard by adding just a bit of water to the cold pot before cooking over medium heat.
This helps heat distribute evenly.
While that cooks down (it'll take 20 minutes or so) break down your head of cauliflower.
I usually just cut the florets into manageable chunks. We'll be puréeing this as a soup after all.
Mine weighed just over 2 pounds. You can use a couple bags of frozen cauliflower here too.
Give your bacon a stir while you get the rest of the ingredients prepped.
4 cups of chicken stock. Homemade really makes the soup here. All that gelatin from good stock gives great body to the finished product.
|You can almost see it jiggle|
I usually water down half and half with some milk to cut some calories but it's not that big of a deal to use heavy cream.
Next, we can do the scallions.
Thinly slice the whites up to the pale greens.
Slice the greens for garnish. I just cut them roughly on the bias for a nice texture in the finished soup.
Dice an onion.
Gather your garlic.
Chop it roughly.
Your bacon should be foaming away by now.
Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to some paper towels, reserving the bacon fat in the pot.
To the fat add the onion, garlic, and the white/pale green parts of the scallions.
Season with some salt and pepper and stir well to combine.
Cook over medium heat until nicely softened about 7 minutes.
We want it to look like this:
Add the cauliflower:
Then the stock:
Then the cream:
Finally, toss in 2 bay leaves:
Give it a good stir and season again with some salt and pepper. You always want to layer the seasoning in.
Cover and drop the heat to medium/low.
Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is nice and soft. Overcooking cauliflower is always better in this type of situation.
When the cauliflower is ready give it a blend.
Remember to remove the bay leaves.
You can do this in batches in a blender or food processor but an immersion blender is invaluable for this type of thing. If you use a blender/food processor just be careful as this is obviously very hot.
Blend until very smooth. It'll take a few minutes.
Give the soup a final taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. I usually go pretty heavy on the pepper here, too.
Serve with the reserved bacon crumbles and the scallion greens over top.
Overall, this was a fantastic soup. It ate very hearty like a potato soup and the garnish of bacon and scallions added not only great flavor but a nice texture as well. It was creamy, salty and the pepper accented the bacon flavor well.
I kept going back for more and the kids loved it. Give it a try!