Leek & Cauliflower Soup

When Jim and I first started dating, he once told me he didn’t like soup—he just wasn’t a soup-guy. For a split second I thought to myself maybe I need to reconsider getting serious with this mope—in my head sprung images of winters to come, with icy snow tapping on the shivering windowpanes and me, wrapped in layers of scratchy woolen blankets, whimpering in front of a cold piece of fish and salad greens. For a split second I almost turned and ran, leaving forever on a search for an Eskimo boyfriend who would appreciate a good soup. And then I realized how silly I was being. Jim wasn’t not a soup-guy. He was simply wrong. Or a liar. And I would change his mind for sure.

Fortunately for me, it’s almost two years later and I have proven Jim wrong. He’s a soup guy now, man, even requesting soup for dinner quite often. Our winters are warm and cuddly, with fluffy down comforters and rosy candles illuminating the darkness outside.

This leek and cauliflower soup is one of many that has changed Jim’s perspective, as well as mine. It’s really sort of a miracle soup—it tastes so luxurious and creamy, but doesn’t leave you feeling bloated after a bowlful because there is actually no cream in it. Yup, that’s right, no cream. Just cauliflower, leek, onion, broccoli if you want it, and stock. It’s amazingly rich and smooth and the addition of caramelized slices of leek and cauliflower as a garnish adds a delicious brown-butter flavor. I add a few florets of broccoli (about half a crown) for color and a bit more green taste, though it’s definitely not necessary. We’ve also had it poured over a bowl of seared sea scallops, which elevates this simple soup to the heights it deserves.

Since the new year is rolling in, and the holidays have left me with a few new pounds to deal with, I’ll be making this soup a lot. It’s the perfect weight-loss tool, and though I don’t know the actual calorie count of each serving (though I do know it’s only 1 point in weight watchers), it’s got to be low. It’s really quite a little miracle.

Leek & Cauliflower Soup

serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium leeks, sliced into rounds and washed
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • olive oil
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cored and cut into florets
  • ½ crown broccoli florets, optional
  • 4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 T butter

Method:

In a large saucepan, saute onion and leeks with a bit of olive oil, until they soften but do not brown. Add cauliflower, broccoli, and stock and cook, covered, until cauliflower is tender, about 15 minutes. Take out 6 rounds of leeks and a few florets of cauliflower, set aside.

Puree the soup in batches in the blender, placing pureed soup in a bowl. When finished pureeing, add soup back to saucepan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm over a low heat.

Slice your reserved cauliflower florets thinly, so you get cute little shapes that look like trees. Add butter to a small frying pan. When melted, add cauliflower slices and brown in the butter on both sides, taking care not to burn. Remove from pan to a small plate. Do the same with the leek rounds.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with the cauliflower trees and leek rounds.