GAIL MONAGHAN

COOKING - ENTERTAINING - LINENS

DECEMBER

Gail Monaghan
IMG_8700.jpg

CURRIED CAULIFLOWER AND APPLE SOUP with Holiday Garnish

About the Recipe

This tasty soup is my first choice holiday starter. Actually it's my first choice winter starter flat out, with its chive, green apple (WITH skin) and pink peppercorn garnish shouting out Christmas Dinner red and green.

Color scheme, however, is only one of its many attributes. First of all it is replete with exotic deliciousness. Everyone--dinner guests and cooking students alike--loves it (even cauliflower-haters), but no one can quite figure out what's in it. Cauliflower, apples, onions, garlic, curry powder and saffron threads combine to create a mouth-watering mystery, a luscious result not resembling what it "should" taste like.

Another plus: this seemingly super rich and filling soup is virtually calorie-free, containing nothing less than 1/4 teaspoon of butter per serving. Loosely adapted from Daniel Boulud, my recipe replaces his cup of cream with stock. Surprisingly, the substitution barely diminishes creaminess while dramatically enhancing flavor. Even when you insist, no one will believe it's a diet dish. And not to be sneezed at, the low-calorie profile is particularly appealing before a holiday goose or prime rib.

Last but certainly not least at this too-busy time of year, this award-worthy starter can be made several days in advance, refrigerated and then reheated for serving. AND it freezes brilliantly. I always double or triple the super easy recipe and freeze to thaw for a soup and salad Sunday supper or as a first course before a simple roast chicken or a steak work week dinner. In the short run, however, it is highly recommended for your Christmas Dinner table!


CURRIED CAULIFLOWER AND APPLE SOUP with Holiday Garnish

Serves

Ingredients

  • 6 cups or more good chicken stock

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 2 medium onions, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 4 teaspoons Madras or West Indian curry powder (or more to taste)

  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads or 2 pinches saffron powder

  • 2 large apples, cored and cut into large dice

  • 2 large heads cauliflower, greens and stem discarded, head broken up

  • 4-6 tablespoons minced chives (garnish

  • 2 organic Granny Smith apples cut into small dice (skin left on)

  • about 3 tablespoons pink peppercorns, crushed (for color but also for taste) 6 tablespoons pomegranate seeds can be substituted.

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice, optional


Method

  1. Melt the butter in a large sacuepan over medium-low heat.

  2. Add the onions, curry powder, and saffron and sweat for 2 minutes, stirring often.

  3. Add the garlic and sliced apple and sweat for another 5 minutes, stirring often.

  4. Add the cauliflower and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Boil until the cauliflower is tender when pierced with a knife, approximately 20 minutes.

  5. Transfer the soup in batches to a blender and purée at high speed until very smooth.

  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  7. Keep warm until ready to serve or refrigerate when cool and reheat just before serving. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add a bit of lemon juice if desired

  8. Garnish with chives, apple dice and crushed pink peppercorns.