ADVOCATE-TESTED RECIPE

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Serves 8. Recipe is from “Besh Big Easy: 101 Home Cooked New Orleans Recipes” by John Besh/Andrews McMeel Publishing. Besh writes, “I love soup and I especially love to make variations on the classic base of leeks and potatoes, this time by adding cauliflower. You can use just about any vegetable. Or make a simple potato and leek soup, and serve it chilled for a great vichyssoise.”

¼ cup olive oil

1 whole leek, trimmed and chopped

1 head cauliflower, trimmed and chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large potato, peeled and roughly chopped

4 cups Go-To Chicken Stock (recipe follows)

½ cup cream

Salt and pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and sweat the leeks and cauliflower, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes more. You want a white soup, so don’t let the vegetables brown.

2. Add the potatoes, stock, and cream. Bring to a boil, then reduce immediately to a simmer. The potatoes will become soft and silky in about 20 minutes.

3. Transfer the soup to a blender and puree. I have a tendency to blow this up from time to time, so make sure not to overfill the blender and blend on low speed. Add salt and pepper.

Go-To Chicken Stock

Serves 4. Recipe is from “Besh Big Easy: 101 Home Cooked New Orleans Recipes” by John Besh/Andrews McMeel Publishing.

1. Making stock is not complicated. I freeze the carcasses from every chicken I roast and make stock when I have enough of them. I start by putting the carcasses in a stockpot. Often I’ll brown some chicken and/or turkey wings in the oven (about 1 pound of bones total), and throw them into the pot as well.

2. I then add a couple of chopped carrots and celery stalks along with a few cloves of crushed garlic and a couple of bay leaves.

3. Then I pour in enough cool water to cover the bones by a few inches and bring to a boil. Then simply simmer for about 2 hours. Strain it all and you’re done. (And remember, in a pinch, do as so many New Orleans home cooks do: use water.)

Variations

To make fish stock, use 1 pound of fish heads and bones instead of the chicken.

For shellfish stock, use 1 pound of shells from shrimp, blue crab, crawfish, or lobster.

For shrimp stock, use 1 pound of shrimp heads and shells.

For crab stock, use 1 pound of crab shells.