Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cauliflower soup with crispy bacon and chives

At this point, you know soup is a fallback dinner for me. All you really need is one vegetable you can make the star. If you happen to have some leeks on hand, and homemade chicken stock, both of which I did yesterday, so much the better. And if you have an immersion blender, as Jamie Oliver would say, you're laughing.

The base of this soup was some cauliflower from our CSA box. I'd recently seen this post at Serious Eats for cauliflower cheddar soup and it had gotten stuck in my head; unfortunately, I didn't have the right kind of cheese. Cauliflower leek soup would have to do.

I still wanted to do something special, though. So I crisped up some bacon, removed it from the pan, and sauteed the leeks, potato (another non-necessity but great addition to any pureed soup), and cauliflower in the leftover fat. Plus a little butter. Oh, come on now. You know I don't keep a kosher kitchen.

When the soup was pureed, splashed with cream, and well-seasoned, I ladled it into these fabulous new soup and sammie sets my sister recently sent me as a cheer-up gift. One of the upsides of being mopey is that people make very kind efforts to lift your spirits.

It worked! I love these sets. Thanks, Jen!

"Hey Hungry Dog," you're saying, "that ain't no freakin' sandwich."

True. I did have some bread in the house but it was a few days old--not sandwich material. So I made some crunchy croutons to serve alongside the soup. This is actually one of my favorite ways to eat soup, and now I have the perfect soup-and-crouton vessel. This way you can add the croutons as you like and they don't get soggy. And making croutons is a wonderful way to use up slightly stale bread.

Now let's talk about the soup.

Creamy and smooth, with a double onion hit from the leeks and chives, undernotes of smoky bacon, with bacony bits adding texture and saltiness to each mouthful. Perfection. I'm sorry to sound braggy, but this soup rocked.

It's hard to garner as much enthusiasm from the husband about soups; he likes them fine and will eat every last drop, but ultimately I don't think he values a good soup the way I do. To me, a homemade soup can be delicious, satisfying, healthy (um, maybe not this one), and thrifty all at once. What more could you want?


  1. I think that soup sounds fantastic! Now I've got my fingers crossed for more cauliflower in the CSA. For some reason, those plates (which rock, by the way) make me want nothing so much as a grilled cheese sandwich and some tomato soup for dippin'.

  2. I love creamy soups, but my husband isn't a fan. He likes to "chew his food." He just doesn't realize what he's missing! I wish I could have a bowl of this for lunch right now. Sounds wonderful.

  3. Nothing says special like crispy bacon! :D The soup looks fantastic, blended soups are my favorite kind.

  4. I agree with you. Soup is good food.

  5. I'm also a huge soup fan and this one sounds divine. Unfortunately, I think we're just beyond cauliflower season in AZ but I've bookmarked this for future use.

  6. I love that little set, and this soup definitely rocks! How do I know? I've made one with almost exactly the same ingredients (minus the chives and cream)...definitely great minds thinking alike here :) That close up shot of the bacon sort of "sink-floating" looks amazing.

  7. Cauliflower soup is one of my faves to make. What I love is how you can puree cauliflower in some stock and transform it into the creamiest texture ever. It tastes like you added a gob of cream to it, even if you didn't.

  8. I am all about the double-hit of onion. The more members of the onion family that you can get into one dish, the happier I am. Great soup!

  9. that soup is like velvet. i, like george costanza, love velvet. also, your new set of dishes is groovy! i wish i had a sister who sent me things. heck, i wish i had a sister. :)

  10. Very colourful and pretty. It would be lovely and warming here in the UK where its been raining every day.
    *kisses* HH

  11. Camille: I've been dreaming of that combo too! Expect to see a post along those lines one day soon...

    oneordinaryday: Yep, the chewing seems to be an issue with my huz too. Funny!

    Bob: bacon=party

    cookiecrumb: it's comforting, isn't it? and so easy.

    Tammy: thanks! and thank you for stopping by!

    shaz: our great minds DEFINITALY think alike!

    Carolyn: Yeah, cauliflower is quickly becoming one my favorite soups.

    Apples and Butter: Next time shall I add shallot? I think so!

    grace: Ah, george costanza, somehow living on in eternity. I wish you had a sister too! Sisters are the best, especially ones that send you stuff.

    HH: Thank you! You should give this one a whirl during one of your rainy days.

  12. I love the crockery, very cool. I imagine seeing that in the cupboard literally forces you to want soup! I love crunchy bread with soup too, although we've been lazy and making olive oil slathered crostini... similar to croutons, looks more like a sandwich and easier to make. I wouldn't have thought of adding bacon to cauliflower soup - it looks really good!

  13. Hungry Dog, The soup looks heavenly. I love the dishes and believe you made good use of the plate as a crouton server! Brilliant. Crunchy croutons rock in soup.
    Went to Delores Street the other day. Fell in love with Tartine and Buy rite. You lucky devil Hungry Dog, to have all of this in your back yard.

  14. More uses for cauliflower.....and your last one was pretty good too.

  15. foodhoe: Oh yeah, crostini are just as good as croutons, maybe better because you can dip 'em by hand a bit easier.

    Gypsy Chef: that is a fabulous little area...were you able to try some Bi-Rite ice cream?

    A Little Yumminess: a surprisingly versatile veggie, no?

    Sophie: Thank you! It was indeed comforting.

  16. Looks good. I want to eat that right now! Do you have Paul Bertoli's "Cooking By Hand"? - a great combo of bedtime reading and recipes. He has some interesting things to say about cauliflower soup. Becks & Posh have a good post on this topic too: becksposhnosh.blogspot.com/.../tale-of-two-cauliflower-soups.html

  17. Love the dish set! I want one too!

    It's too bad cauliflower isn't readily available in Korea. I wonder if there's a reliable substitute?

  18. Your soup looks wonderful - just like velvet. I also love your presentation. I think this may be my second response to this post. If so please forgive the wandering mind of a no longer young lady. Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings...Mary

  19. I love cream soups...have never made one with cauliflower, which is also a favorite. It looks heavenly creamy and bacon and chives sprinled on top would be perfect. I am ashamed to admit I like croutons so much that I have been known to eat them by the handfulls as snacks! Bring 'em on! They are wonderful with a soup like this.
    Have a lovely weekend!

  20. Stacie D: I don't have that book...maybe I can borrow yours?

    Jessica: hmm, a cauliflower substitute. MAybe romanesco broccoli?

    Mary: Thanks! I don't think you responded before but even if you did, no worries! Hope you are having a wonderful weekend too.

    Barbara: Why be ashamed of your crouton love? Embrace it! :) Lovely weekend to you too.

  21. Oh gosh that soup just beckons to be slurped! Awesome!

  22. I'm a soup lover through and through! That is such a lovely set and the croutons are perfect with your delicious soup! My husband has strong feelings about soup. He does not like it! He does tolerate chowders and stews fairly well. I think her just might like this recipe. I think I should try it out on him! :)

  23. Chef Aimee: Thanks!

    Ungourmet: Give this one a try...if he likes bacon (who doesn't?) then this might just be a winner. Thanks for stopping by!

  24. I'm normally not a huge fan of cauliflour but your photos have made it actually look delicious! wow. Love the presentation too!

  25. Elizabeth and Jared: You might enjoy it in a soup--it becomes much more interesting both in texture and flavor. Give it a try...