09 December 2007

Fast and Frugal: Rustic Cauliflower Soup

Rustic Cauliflower Soup with St. Paulin Cheese

Across from Square George Cain, a lovely little park tucked behind Musee Carnavalet, is the Swedish Cafe, part of the Swedish Cultural Center on Rue Payenne.

At mid afternoon, when we visited the museum and the park, the little cafe was deserted and this captivated me, and fired my imagination. I saw the buggy and imagined a young Swedish mother, the wife of a minor diplomat perhaps, visiting with her child. The daily special, said the menu board, was cauliflower soup and I longed for a cup, and a rest in this little sanctuary. But we had shopping and packing to do, and thus a bus to catch. I shot a hasty photo.

The cafe at the Swedish Cultural Center, Paris
It is is cold in Wisconsin today, and I am inside with my own bowl of cauliflower soup, this one made with St. Paulin cheese, which I find easily in France and sometimes locally.

Rustic Cauliflower Soup
  • 1 medium cauliflower, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken stock*
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup St. Paulin cheese, in chunks
  • dash freshly ground pepper
  • pinch fleur de sel

*I make chicken stock using the carcass of a rotisserie chicken, some onion skins and peels, some thyme, and one garlic clove.

Using a large sauce pan or smaller stock pot, cook the cauliflower in 1 cup of the chicken stock until tender. Allow it to cool, drain and then reserve the liquid. Run it through a blender to get a slight puree.

In another saucepan, soften the onion in butter. Add the cauliflower puree, then add flour and milk. Allow the mix to boil and thicken. Then, turning the heat down, add the cheese until the cheese melts. Taste before adding seasoning.

Cauliflower soup does not need much embellishment to satisfy and provide a sense of comfort. I often add a dash of fresh thyme, or even a tiny pinch of orange rind.

This was fine and comforting as it was, with just a few small garlic croutons floating on top.

21 comments:

Betty C. said...

This reminds me of one of my favorite recipes from the first Moosewood cookbook -- cauliflower cheese soup. I always forget about croûtons, though -- and they add so much!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

And that is so what Paris is when I'm not there, just a lovely moment remembering.

Mimi said...

Ah, yes, the Moosewood Cookbook - love the squash casserole from that one, Betty.

Isn't it interesting that we all have our own Paris, Tanna? I love to see other peoples' Paris, too.

Erika W. said...

That soup sounds like the perfect comfort food for a winter evening. I don't think I've ever had St.Paulin cheese. I'm off to go look it up.

Mimi said...

Erika, I guess I am hooked on comfort food and cheese and soup are right up there.

Kristen said...

That photo is exactly how I imagine Paris! You took me there again Mimi,..thank you!

Mimi said...

My pleasure, Kristen. Someday as a world-famous blogger you will be there!

Lydia said...

Another recipe that makes me wish I could get over my distaste of cauliflower! The soup does sound delicious, Mimi.

Mimi said...

I did not grow up eating cauliflower, so I had to develop a taste for it, Lydia. My mother hated vegetables, except for peas, carrots and green beans. My father ate them, but because my mother loathed them, we kids shunned them.

So there may be hope...

Christine said...

That soup is way more than just fine as it is, Mimi. It's beautiful and positively soulful.

Mimi said...

Thanks, Christine. I do think food can be soulful, depending upon the spirit with which it was made.

I need to ponder this a bit more. Can I make everything that way?

I think so...

cityfarmer said...

I just might have to try this for a dinner party on Tuesday evening.


How've ya been?
you may enjoy my 200th post!!

Mimi said...

Just stunning, CF. Your blog is all bedecked for Christmas!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

Sounds delicious. I don't think I've ever had a cauliflower soup. Cauliflower was one of those not-offensive-so-maybe-I'll-eat-it vegetables for me as a kid...now that my tastes have refined a bit, the soup sounds really tasty

Mimi said...

It's an earthy kind of soup, Mike. I would have to agree with you in your assessment of cauliflower. I like it best raw!

Terry B said...

Mimi--This sounds heavenly. What would be a Midwestern equivalent of St. Paulin cheese?

Mimi said...

No, this St. Paulin is the real thing, TerryB.

I am fortunate enough to have access to some good cheese markets.

fiona said...

I LOVE cauliflower soup and this recipe is very similar to the ones I have used in the past, I'll have to try it with the garlic croutons. There's nothing nicer on a cold winter day.

Julie said...

This sounds wonderful and it is so cold here in NY I am eating alot of soup these days.

Mimi said...

Me, too, Julie. I am really needing warm food this year - it never used to be an issue. Age creeping up on me, I guess.

Fiona, I vow to make something from the cookbook you sent me - soon!

Jann said...

What a delicious soup~ and wonderful post, as usual...I am missing Paris.......I'll make the soup and dream some!