Wednesday 3 March 2010

Polish Cauliflower soup to warm the cockles

When I am in a far away land, such as Thailand, I mainly miss two things about Europe - wine and cheese. This is why I am writing today's blog while sipping a glass of white Rioja and scoffing Wensleydale cheese that Jamie brought back from Yorkshire (a surprisingly good combo!), despite being full from dinner.

Tonight, I made Polish cauliflower soup, just like my mum makes. Recently, it has dawned on me that cauliflower is not popular in the UK. Even a well known chef admitted to disliking it on TV! I believe that "insipid" was the adjective he used, which was quite shocking to me, as someone who has such fond feelings towards this humble vegetable. During my childhood in Poland we used to have it boiled with a butter-breadcrumb topping, or in a creamy, mild soup such as the one I made today.

There is no point making soup for only 1 meal, it's always better the next day anyway, so the amount I make is usually 4-5 portions... this is what you need:

Large Carrot
Large leek
2 celery stalks
Small Cauliflower
2 big potatoes
Handful of dill
200ml single cream
Bay leaf
Maggi sauce
Salt and white pepper
Pinch of sugar

I grated the carrot and parsnip and put them in the casserole dish I use for making soup, covered with water. The dish was 8/10 full. Then, it's time for chopped leeks and celery to go in, along with the bay leaf.... cover it and bring it to the boil.  Once boiling, bring the heat down and simmer for about 45mins. Perfect time to have a bath!

Next, I peeled and chopped the potatoes into cubes, and cauliflower into small florets, and chucked that in. Again, you leave it for half an hour or so, until nice and soft, before adding the dill, maggi sauce (mentionned before, in the sauerkraut stew blog from a couple of weeks ago) and salt and pepper to taste. 

There is something about dill that makes a dish automatically taste Polish to me. I went through a long stage of disliking it, but now I have happily gone back to my roots and use it quite liberally in this dish. Finally, the cream and a pinch of sugar. I simmered it all for a further 5 minutes before serving with crusty bread, though, in fact, because of the potatoes not much bread is needed. A perfect winter warmer - although I'd like to say it's spring already, the weather has been proving me wrong all day, so I won't ;o)

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