- Food & Drink
I bloody love soup. I worried that starting off my new blog with a post about soup might be a bit boring. Who gets excited about soup? I don’t, and soup is one of my favourite things. Meat, vegetable, fish, noodle, hot, cold, spicy, in a mug, in a bowl, plump with dumplings, topped with croutons or served with toast – I don’t care how it comes, I’ll slosh my spoon in and be grateful.
It’s a quiet, gentle pleasure, is soup, like digestive biscuits and the smell of new carpets. But what’s a blog if not a place to talk about the perfectly ordinary things that lift the frown lines from your face? So I decided: “To hell with molecular gastronomy and interesting things that involve cheese and steak and chips and all the other flashy foods that people like to dribble over. I love soup, so soup is what I’m going to write about.”
Plus, it’s cold. Actually cold for the first time this winter. I’m wearing two pairs of socks and a cardigan over a woollen dress. I’ve spent the afternoon running my hands up and down the radiator in my kitchen, enjoying the shimmering puffs of heat it wheezes out and wondering if I should turn it off and put a hat on or savour the warmth for a few minutes more.
Soup is a little like a liquid radiator. It’s not quite as powerful as stew – you can get heatstroke eating stew – but it does warm your extremities from the inside, which is useful when the streets are full of slush.
This soup is an earthy mix of cruciferous cauliflower, sweet onion and celery with a hint of chorizo to remind you of just how good spiced dead animals taste. The crème fraîche adds a note of sour dairy richness, but you could replace it with cream or even milk if you prefer your soup plainer. The important thing is to get all the oil from the chorizo frying pan. It’s full of smoky porkiness that transforms every spoonful of soup it runs into.
Cauliflower and chorizo soup
1 onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
350g cauliflower, broken into small florets
650ml hot chicken stock
6 slices spicy chorizo
100g crème fraîche
Chopped fresh parsley, to serve
Melt a small chunk of butter in a pan. Stir in the onion, season with salt and white pepper, and cover with a piece of greaseproof paper or a butter wrapper. Cover with a lid and sweat over a low heat (use a diffuser mat if you have one), stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
Stir in the celery, recover and sweat for a further 10 minutes. Discard the paper and add the cauliflower. Pour in the hot stock. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.
Meanwhile, pour a dribble of olive oil into a frying pan and place over a high heat. Add the chorizo slices and fry, turning once, until the chorizo is frazzled and the oils are running. Set aside.
Transfer the soup to a blender and blitz until smooth or use a hand-held blender to blitz it in the pan. Stir in the crème fraîche and gently heat to warm through.
Adjust the seasoning and ladle into bowls. Top with the slices of chorizo and drizzle the oil from the frying pan over the top. Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley to serve.