Well winter has almost arrived and what better way to welcome it than with a hearty, creamy, scrummo soup! Earthy cauliflower paired with the sharpness of a fine, mature cheddar and topped off with a crunchy rocket and walnut pesto pretty much ticks all the boxes, me thinks!
Prep time: 20 Minutes Cooking time: 40 Minutes $ Low Budget
2 tbs of olive oil
25gm of butter
1 whole cauliflower roughly chopped, stalks and all
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped (any kind will do)
2 leeks, washed and finely sliced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 litre of salt reduced chicken stock
500ml of water
1 cup of mature cheddar, grated
200ml of light cooking cream
Sea salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
For the Pesto:
100gm of baby rocket leaves
2 sprigs of basil, roughly chopped
1/2 a cup of toasted walnuts*
1/2 a cup of grated parmesan cheese
1/2 a cup of extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
Heat a large heavy based saucepan. Melt the butter and add the olive oil to prevent the butter from burning before adding the leeks and garlic. Saute` gently until the leeks are nice and soft and the kitchen is smelling amazing…..
Throw in the cauliflower and potatoes and saute` for a minute or two before adding the stock and water. The measurements are a rough guide but you want the liquid to just cover the cauliflower. Pop the lid on, bring to the boil and allow to bubble away at a nice simmer for approximately half an hour or until potatoes are tender.
Remove the soup from the heat and using a hand blender (every kitchen should have one!) or a normal blender, blend the soup until all lumps have disappeared and you have a nice, thick, smooth consistency. Return to the heat, bring to a low simmer and add the cheddar and cream and season with salt and pepper. Give it a good stir to make sure all the cheese has melted through the soup. It is a great idea to have a taste here and adjust the seasoning if you think it needs it.
To make the pesto, place all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to get started. Process the mix on low while adding the olive oil until you have a lovely paste. Have a taste and add more seasoning if necessary.
To plate up, ladle a generous amount of soup into large deep serving bowls, top with a dollop of pesto and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Finish off with a nice sprinkle of black pepper and serve with crusty bread.
* Toast the walnuts in a hot dry pan for 3-5 minutes. Keep them moving as nuts can burn quite quickly…..