If you went by what is on the shelves of American grocery stores you would think that the only cream based soups that Americans eat come in a can and are limited to five flavors: potato, broccoli, mushroom, celery & chicken. Clam chowder has its own place in American cookery. There are vegetable soups available on the shelf as well; sweet potato, corn chowder, tomato, squash and a mushroom (not a veggie, I know) that is just plain old soup. I have some experience with those. There was a red pepper soup that was to die for but I think I was the only one who liked it. Or bought it. Whatever. When I look at everything on the shelf I begin to think that Americans have to have meat in everything as if everything is a meal in and of itself.
Soup has always been meant to be an accompaniment to a meal and thus, is not supposed to fill you as if you were eating a complete meal. I don’t know when we forgot that. In the passel of magazines I got for my birthday, it would seem that Germans, among many Europeans, haven’t forgotten that soup is part of a meal. And they haven’t forgotten the flavor, which sadly, one can also accuse Americans of forgetting when it comes to soups. Chilies, Americans do chilies… just not a lot of soups. And sometimes I think we think that they are the same things.
In flipping through the pages of these magazines, it occurs to me that Germans will make a soup out of anything, especially in the Winter. I saw soups for brusselsprouts (rosenkohl), cabbage (grünkohl), parsnips (pastinaken) and some sweet potato varieties that I’ve never thought of trying. One of the recipes for a cauliflower soup was particularly inspiring.
I had to go with what was on hand so it isn’t the recipe in the magazine.
- 1 head cauliflower, trimmed. Reserve fleurettes for the final cooking stage. Thinly chop the trunks.
- 2-3 cloves minced garlic
- 1-2 shallots, thin sliced
- 1 stalk celery, finely diced
- beef stock
- black pepper
- ¼ Cup heavy cream or half and half
- ¼ Cup shredded swiss cheese
- Parsley for garnish
Cook to shallots, garlic, celery and thick woody pieces of the cauliflower head in the stock on medium. When the stems are tender remove to a food processor (I use a Vitamix) with some of the broth. Whiz until creamy then return to the pan. It should be nicely thickened.
Reduce heat to a low simmer. Before serving add the cream and shredded cheese, stirring until fully incorporated
Add the fleurettes, seasonings and cook until the little flowers are tender. Garnish and serve.