I bought cauliflower? Really? No one here is a huge fan, but there it sat in the veggie drawer. Now what? I know when I bought it I'd had a plan, but the plan was lost in the brain matter and the cauliflower sat there staring at me, threatening to turn black if I didn't do something soon.
When in doubt, soup. This one turned out fantastic - and I may have converted a few non-cauliflower believers with it. Unlike a lot of "cream of cauliflower" creations, cheese is not a main ingredient, though it adds that extra layer of taste.
Cauliflower Soup with Cheese
1 head cauliflower, separated into flowerettes
2 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. oil (I use olive)
1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped
3 leeks, chopped
3 sticks celery, chopped
1/4 cup flour
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup milk
4 oz. Gruyere cheese, cubed
White pepper (or black if you're not picky about the color) to taste
Steam about a cup of the cauliflower and set aside. You'll be putting this in the soup after you puree it, so steam it to your preferred level of crunchiness.
Heat butter and oil in soup pot at medium heat and add onions, leeks, celery and remaining cauliflower. Cook until onions are clear and veggies are fairly soft. Stir in flour thoroughly (no lumps!), then add broth slowly, stirring well between each addition. Add the milk last, then reduce the heat to low, partially cover it and simmer for 20 minutes. Make sure to stir it often lest your milk and flour burn on the bottom.
Blend the soup in a blender on a low speed (to avoid splashing and burning). Return to pot and stir in cheese (if you choose to turn on the burner, make it very low so as not to scorch the entire thing). Add pepper and stir. Ladle into bowls and add the reserved cauliflower flowerettes to the bowls.
I served this with buckwheat (kashi), which we stirred right in. It's definitely not a main course because of the lack of protein, but it goes well as a "side" for all sorts of dishes.