This is another recipe I had flagged in the October issue of Good Food magazine. We love Cream of Cauliflower Soup, and Cauliflower cheese is another favourite of ours.
Its also safe to say we absolutely adore Cauliflower Cheese soup! It's like all of your Christmas's have come at once!
When I saw this recipe I knew that I wanted to make it. It combines two of our loves, Cauliflower and Cheese along with a tangy sweet pear relish!
The picture in the magazine looked so pretty.
Gorgonzola can be a pretty intense flavour . . . but so can cauliflower. The two together blended very well . . .
To keep it from being totally overwhelming and adding another layer of delicious flavours the Pear Relish adds some colour and extra texture.
This is a soup I would happily serve to guests as a first course at a dinner party. As we were eating it I thought also that my ex boss would have loved this as a first course at one of her parties. It was so pretty and the flavour was outstanding!!
Not to mention you have the added pleasure of some extra pear relish to enjoy on another day with perhaps some crusty bread and sliced cheese. Mmmm . . . mmmm . . . mmmighty good!
*Cauliflower Soup with Gorgonzola and a Pickled Pear Relish*
Cauliflower Cheese soup with a difference. An unusual but delicious combination of flavours and textures.
For the soup:
1 medium head of cauliflower
small knob of unsalted butter
2 small cooking onions, peeled and finely chopped
5 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
1 litre of vegetable stock (3 1/2 cups)
(I use Marigold stock powder)
9 ounces of Gorgonzola cheese
100ml tub of creme fraiche (1/2 cup approx.)
For the Pear Relish:
2 TBS dried cranberries
1 TBS dried currants
2 firm, ripe conference pears (Bosc)
1 sweet eating apple
a knob of unsalted butter
75ml (3 fluid ounces) cider vinegar
2 TBS sugar
3 sprigs of thyme (preferably lemon thyme if available)
1 stick of cinnamon
Trim the cauliflower, discarding the outer leaves. Break into florets. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and sweat them gently over low heat for about 5 minutes, until softened and translucent. Add the cauliflower and allow to sweat for a few minutes. Add the thyme, bay leaves and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Pour over the stock and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the vegetables are very soft. Crumble in the cheese. Stir to melt and then whisk in the creme fraiche. Remove the bay leaves and any thyme stocks. Whiz with a hand blender until really smooth. If you wish you can pass it through a seive to make sure it is completely smooth. Return to the stove and keep warm. Taste and season as required.
To make the relish. (you can make this while the soup is cooking) Place the dried cranberries and currants in a small bowl. Cover with boiled water and allow to sit for about 10 minutes. While they are softening. Core and chop the pears and apple into small bits. (I do not bother to pare the skin away. It adds texture to the finished product.)
Melt the butter in a medium pan over low heat. Once it begins to foam add the fruit. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes until it begins to soften. Add all the remaining ingredients. Cook over medium low heat for a further 10 to 15 minutes. Season to taste. Remove the cinnamoon stick and thyme stems. The relish should have a shiny jewel like appearance.
Serve the soup ladled out into hot soup plates garnished with a little pear relish. Grind pepper over top if desired. I like to sprinkle a few thyme leaves over all, but it's not necessary. It does look nice though. Parsley would do the same thing.
You can keep the relish in a covered sterile jar in the refrigerator for about a month, or in a covered bowl for about a week. Very nice with sliced cold meats and cheese.