Friday, January 21, 2011

Cauliflower and Bacon Soup

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One thing I’ve learned over the years is that whenever you make a dish that’s missing something, don’t panic! Just step away from the dish and clear your head. Maybe put on some easy sounding tunes such as the ones found on Jack Johnson’s “Thicker than Water” disc. The song "Honor and Harmony" by G. Love and Special Sauce is a good choice for this and a favorite of mine. Once you're in this groovin' and calm state of mind you can then begin to figure out which of the 5 flavors of cooking might be missing. For instance the missing flavor for this soup was saltiness. The addition of chopped bacon fixed that and turned this once lackluster soup into a very tasty one!

When I first prepared this soup I couldn't put a finger on what was missing. Adding the sourness of sour cream to the soup helped yet it still didn’t taste as good as I was hoping it would. Instead of tossing the whole batch, I stepped away and stored it in the refrigerator.

The next day when I saw the bacon in the fridge I knew it was the missing ingredient for the soup. Honestly what doesn’t taste better with bacon? In Portland Oregon a place called Voodoo Donut puts bacon on their maple donuts...that's what I'm talking about!!!
Anyway, since pork and cauliflower make a nice combination on a dinner plate I figured they would be happy to cuddle together in a soup. I chopped up the cooked bacon, added it to the soup and it totally turned this soup around in a good way (minus the few extra calories)! Who would have thought that a single ingredient would make such a big difference.

Cauliflower and Bacon Soup

5 slices of bacon
1 onion, diced
1 celery stalk, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
3 cups cauliflower florets (about ½ head)
1 cup milk
½ cup low-fat sour cream
½ cup Parmesan cheese
½ tsp each finely grated lemon zest and salt
¼ tsp freshly grated black pepper

In a large saucepan cook bacon slices until crisp. Remove bacon from saucepan and let drain on paper towels. Once bacon has cooled chop into small pieces. Set aside. Drain all fat from saucepan except for about 1 tbsp. Add onions and celery. Cook over medium heat until vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes.

Add flour to saucepan and stir. Whisk in stock (stock must be cool or room temperature or flour will clump). Bring to a boil. Add cauliflower. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.

With a hand blender or regular blender, puree soup until smooth. Return soup to saucepan. Stir in milk, sour cream, cheese, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Heat soup until hot but do not bring to a boil. Ladle soup into individual bowls and sprinkle cooked bacon on top before serving.

Volume: Makes 6 to 8 Servings

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Brent Garell (The Kitchen Roadie)

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