Cauliflower Soup with Red Beet Chips
|March 2, 2010||Posted by ameliaps under soup, soups, vegetables, vegetarian, winter|
Talk about a child’s veggie nightmare: cauliflower and beets!!!
But…alas… a dream it was
Not only is this soup a very elegant dish to serve to adults for a dinner party (soup shots even?) but it stands the test of a 4 and 6 years old who licked their plate clean!
The recipe is from Thomas Keller’s “Ad Hoc At Home” book. It’s the second recipe I have made from this book (the first one was the caramelized scallops).
I did make a variation: instead of frying the beet chips I oven-baked them. But in hindsight I probably should have fried them!!! Also, I did skip the reserved cauliflower part and the garlic confit (but left them in the recipe below, in case you have more time than me on your hand!). You certainly can make a simplified version: it worked out great for me.
This soup is velvety and A-Mazing. The secret ingredient? Curry powder. Please do try it!
Warning: your kitchen will look like a crime scene…with the red juice of the beets everywhere
Cauliflower Soup with Red Beet Chips
by Thomas Keller from “Ad Hoc at Home”
2 heads cauliflower (4 to 5 pounds total)
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
3/4 C coarsely chopped leeks (white and light green parts only)
3/4 C coarsely chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon Yellow Curry Powder or Madras curry powder
2 C milk
2 C heavy cream
2 cups water
Peanut or Canola oil for deep-frying
1 medium red beet
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
Torn Croutons (see recipe)
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Remove the leaves from the cauliflower, and cut out the core. Trim off the stems and reserve them. For the garnish, trim 2 cups florets about the the size of a quarter and set aside.
Coarsely chop the remaining cauliflower and the stems into 1-inch pieces so that they will cook in the same amount of time. You need 8 cups of cauliflower (reserve any extra for another use).
Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, leeks, curry, and coarsely chopped cauliflower, season with 2 teaspoons of salt.
Cover with a parchment lid (this is important – don’t skip this step!), and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are almost tender, about 20 minutes. Remove and discard the parchment lid.
Pour in the milk, cream, and water, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, skimming off the foam from time to time.
Working in batches, transfer the cauliflower mixture to a Vita-Mix (leave an opening in the lid for the steam to escape). NOTE: I used my blender and it worked perfectly fine!!! Begin pureeing the cauliflower on the lowest speed and blend, slowly increasing the speed, until smooth and velvety. Check the seasoning and add more salt if needed. The soup will be thick!!!
Transfer to a large saucepan and keep warm. (The soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
Fill a small deep pot with 1 inch of peanut oil and heat over medium heat to 300 degrees. Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Line the rack with paper towels.
While the oil heats, peel the beet and slice off about 1/2 inch from the top. Using a Japanese mandoline or other vegetable slicer, slice the beet into rounds that are slightly thicker than paper-thin. Reserve only the full rounds.
…and here’s the gorey details of the beet slicing … heeheehee (a little kitchen humor):
Carefully add a few beet rounds to the oil and fry, turning them with a wire skimmer or slotted spoon as the edges begin to curl and pressing gently on the chips to keep them submerged. You will see a great deal of bubbling around the beets as the moisture in them evaporates; when the bubbling stops, after 1 to 1-1/2 minutes, the beets will be crisp. Transfer the beets to the paper-towel-lined rack and season with salt. Fry the remaining chips in batches. The chips can be kept warm in a low oven.
Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the vinegar and the reserved cauliflower florets and blanch until tender, 4 to 6 minutes. The vinegar will help keep the cauliflower white. Drain.
Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter turns a rich golden brown. Add the florets and saute until a rich golden brown. Set aside.
To serve, reheat the soup. This is a thick soup, but if it seems too thick, add water to thin it to the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the soup into a serving bowl or soup tureen. Top each serving with a few cauliflower florets, several torn croutons, and a stack of beet chips. (If the beet chips sit in the soup, they will become soggy and discolor it.) Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper. Serve the remaining florets, croutons, and chips in separate bowls on the side.
1 loaf of country bread
Garlic Oil from Garlic Confit (see recipe)
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
Cut the crusts off of the bread. Tear the bread into irregular pieces no larger than 2 inches. You need about 3 cups of croutons; reserve any remaining bread for another use.
Pour 1/8 inch of the the garlic oil into a large saute pan and heat over medium heat until hot. Spread the bread in a single layer in the pan (if your pan in not large enough, these can be cooked in two smaller pans.) Add the butter. The oil and butter should be bubbling, but if you hear sizzling. the heat is too high. Adjust the heat as necessary, and stir the croutons often as they cook. Cook until the croutons are crisp and a beautiful rich golden brown on all sides, 15 to 20 minutes. Move the croutons to one side of the pan and keep warm until ready to serve. Torn croutons should be used the day they are made; you can reheat them in a low oven before serving if necessary.
1 C peeled garlic cloves
About 2 C of canola oil
Cut off and discard the root ends of garlic cloves. Put the cloves in a small saucepan and add enough oil to cover them by about 1 inch – none of the garlic cloves should be poking through the oil.
Set the saucepan on a diffuser over medium-low heat. The garlic should cook gently: very small bubbles will come up throught the oil, but the bubbles should not break the surface; adust the heatas necessary and/or move the pan to one side of the diffuser it is cooking to quickly. Cook the garlic for about 40 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until the cloves are completely tender when pierced with the tip of knife. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the garlic to cool in the oil.
Refrigerate the garlic in a covered container, submerged in the oil, for up to 1 week.
One final look at the finsihed soup: