Recipe: Cauliflower Soup with crunchy bacon, beet oil and pickled pears
2 heads cauliflower
½ gallon whole milk
3 cinnamon sticks
1 bunch thyme
1 heaped teaspoon chili flakes
1 small Spanish onion
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup chicken stock
4 oz crème fraiche
Nutmeg for grating
Cut the cauliflower into quarters and then cut out the core. Break up the head into smaller florets and put into a deep, heavy-bottomed pan. Lay the cinnamon sticks, thyme (branches and all) chili flakes and peppercorns over the cauliflower and cover with whole milk. If the milk doesn’t cover the cauliflower completely, then top off with some water. Bring it to the boil and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is super tender.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a smaller heavy-bottomed saucepan, throw in the onions with a touch of salt and sweat. It’s really important that the onions soften without browning to maintain a white color. Once the onions are translucent, pour over the chicken stock and warm through over a low heat.
When the cauliflower is tender, begin pureeing. Use a big spoon to transfer the florets into a food processor, carrying over some cooking liquid with it. Continue like this until all the cauliflower has been pureed, processing the broth and onions with the last bunch of cauliflower. You’ll have a lot of the milky broth left over. Hold on to some in case you want to thin out the soup later.
Sieve the pureed cauliflower to smooth out the soup. Add the crème fraiche, grate in a pinch of nutmeg and season with salt as you see fit.
Beet Oil: Juice one red beet and mix with extra virgin olive oil
Crispy Bacon: chop and render bacon in a cast iron skillet until crispy
1 Pear, sliced
1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup white wine vinegar 1 bay leaf 2-3 cloves 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
combine all ingredients over low heat until sugar is dissolved, pour over pear slices and serve
Recipe: a collaboration by Ali Schmidt + Karen Mordechai Sunday Suppers