Cauliflower Soup with Gorgonzola
A couple of nights before I left for Paris Val and I attended a cooking class at the fabulous Mission Hill Estate winery. The topic was Tour de France and it was a culinary journey through the provinces of France. The first dish was, you guessed it, a cauliflower soup. The soup was so creamy and delicious, my favourite dish of the evening (and also the only vegetarian one). Executive Chef Mathew Batey, who taught the class (he said that his staff cooked the actual food in the back and made him look good:) made the soup extra rich and creamy by adding egg yolks and cream to thicken it and make it silky, smooth and rich. It was perfectly flavoured and executed with skill as you would expect from such high calibre chef. I come out of these classes inspired to cook, not that I need much inspiration, I can be in the kitchen and at the computer all day. As you can see I am a bundle of fun:).
In an effort to clean out the fridge before we left I was cooking as much of what I had in the fridge as I could. This lovely, creamy-white cauliflower was destined for a soup, especially after the cauliflower soup á la Chef Batey. I have made this soup many times. There is something about cauliflower and gorgonzola that goes well together. They both have a strong flavour but somehow they compliment rather than compete. The gorgonzola smoothes out the texture of the cauliflower and adds a slightly pungent, salty flavour. Suits my palate perfectly.
The soup is easy to make. When everything was cooked through I pureed it all with an immersion blender and added the cheese. In anticipation of the rich foods I expect to eat in Parisian restaurants over the next few weeks I was tempted to make this soup fat free but changed my mind in the last minute. The gorgonzola had to go in there, and so did a cup of cream. Aprés moi le deluge.
For garnishing the soup I used a sprinkling of chopped caramelized nuts. They add a surprising element of crunchiness and a layer of sweetness to offset the gorgonzola. You can buy some caramelized nuts and chop a few to sprinkle over the soup. Delish.
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 small leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned and sliced
1 head cauliflower, separated into smaller florets
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks.
1 bay leaf
4-6 cups vegetable stock
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1 cup gorgonzola
1 cup cream
Suggested garnishes: crumbled gorgonzola, grated gruyere, chopped caramelized nuts
Melt butter in a 4 quart soup pot (you know I like Le Creuset French Oven for soups)
Add the onion and leek and cook until translucent but not browned.
Add the cauliflower and potatoes and cook until glazed with the butter and beginning to soften, being careful not to brown the vegetables. If needed, add a 1/4 cup stock or water to keep the pot from drying.
When the vegetables are softened add the stock and bay leaf and bring to a boil
Lower heat, partially cover and simmer until vegetables are cooked through.
Remove the bay leaf and puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender or in a blender (get an immersion blender, it’s a good tool to have).
Add the grated gruyere, gorgonzola, saving a little for the garnish.
Keep simmering until both cheeses are melted.
Add the cream and stir it in.
Taste the soup and add salt if necessary (the cheeses are salty).
Serve nice and hot with garnishes as suggested.