Cream of Mushroom Soup

A few nights ago, we thought we’d use our cauliflower to try a cream of cauliflower soup (usually we make a very simple soup, using only onions and water with the cauliflower). However, when we cut into our organic cauliflower from the farmer’s market we found these:

Aphids love cauliflower as much as I do!

So many aphids. Hundreds of aphids. Trying to play it cool, we just chopped up the vegetable, rinsed and rinsed, soaked it in water and vinegar (in hopes of killing the aphids), rinsed again. Sometimes these things happen with organic produce, we tell ourselves. No need to panic. When we thought we had done a pretty good job de-bugging our cauliflower, I pulled open one of the florets to find lots of dead aphids. After a little time pulling apart florets and rinsing the dead bugs away, we gave up. We put the creamy base for the soup in the fridge and ate a salad.  No complaints here about a salad made with Fuerte avocados from our friend Lisa’s 80-year-old tree and greens from Lane Farms.

Delicious Fuerte Avocados from our friend's 80-year-old tree

Beautiful red-leaf lettuce from Lane Farms

Next day, we changed course with the soup base, adding some cooked mushrooms instead of the cauliflower. Problem solved!

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Adapted from Julia Child‘s The Way to Cook

For the base:

4 Tbs olive oil (Julia Child uses butter)

1 cup minced onion

1/4 cup flour

7 cups cooking liquid, we used vegetable stock and water

For the cream of mushroom variation:

1 pound sliced mushrooms

3/4 cup plain yogurt (Julia Child suggests sour cream or creme fraiche), optional

Optional:

Thyme or tarragon leaves, to serve

Put it together:

Heat the oil in a heavy soup pan and, when warm, add the onions.  Cook over low heat for 5-8 mins until tender.  Stir in the flour, adding a little more oil if necessary, so the flour is a paste (roux).  Cook the roux over low heat for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and add a cup of hot liquid once the roux stops bubbling, whisking to incorporate the liquid into the roux to make a thick sauce.  Then stir in the remaining liquid, which can be hot or room-temperature.  Simmer for 10-20 minutes.  The soup should coat the back of a spoon; add more liquid if too thick; simmer longer if too thin. Adjust seasoning (salt & pepper).

You could add the chopped mushrooms uncooked.  We cooked the mushrooms in a little water in a seperate sauce pan, added the cooked mushrooms to the soup, and the reduced the vegetable cooking liquid, and added that to the soup.  Simmer for 10 or more minutes. Stir in the yogurt or other cream, cook for another minute, and turn off the heat.  We added some fresh thyme leaves at serving, which I think contributed a nice flavor.  Julia Child calls for tarragon leaves, which we didn’t have.

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