Friday, January 30, 2009

Cauliflower, cheese and bacon soup

This is rich and very tasty with a lovely velvety finish and a wonderful smell.


150gr bacon
1 brown onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 a cauliflower
500gr potatoes
1 L water
500ml milk
chicken booster
salt and pepper

1 cup of grated tasty cheese

Roughly chop the onion and garlic and slice the bacon, cook off without colour in some olive oil or butter for about five minutes.

Chop the cauliflower and peel and chop the potatoes, add them to the pot and cook them for 2 or 3 minutes.

Add to the pot 1L of water and 500ml of full cream milk and a tablespoon of chick stock powder, or if you have chicken stock replace the water with stock.

Bring it to the boil then turn it down and simmer gently for 30 - 40 minutes until the potatoes are very tender. Turn it off and leave it to cool slightly for 30 minutes.

If you have a hand held mixer use that to process it, otherwise put it through the blender, once it is blended stir through a cup of tasty grated cheese.

This soup does not freeze well as you can not reheat it to a high temperature as it will split and look very revolting, it will keep in the fridge very well for 3 days, this recipe makes 3L of soup.

reheat it gently on the stove or on 70% heat in the microwave.

back to basics : chicken stock

I love making stocks, I remember back in the olden days when I was a saucier the first thing I would do when I walked into the kitchen was put on my stocks. This one is a home style version because who has a 120L pot tucked away in their kitchen.

You will need -

2 carrots
4 sticks celery
1 large brown onion
1.5kg of chicken chops (this is just the thigh bone and the meat, no other bits)

roughly chop your vegetables and put them in your pot, an 8-10L pot would be best.

In a hot oven roast the chicken skin side up for 30 minutes, put the chicken and the liquid from the chicken into the pot with the vegetables. I kept the skin because it ads colour and flavour to the stock.

fill the pot to the top and put it on the stove on high and start to bring it to the boil.

The most important thing you can do for your stock is skim it, get a ladle and a bowl and as you see the fat and scum form scoop it up and get rid of it, if you don't and you leave it you will end up with a cloudy stock.

Once it has reached the boil, skim it again and reduce the heat so it is just simmering. Simmer for 20 minutes, turn off the heat and let it cool.

When it is cool put the whole thing in the fridge over night, then you can remove any leftover fat, take out the chicken and strip the meat off them and strain the stock. If you want to keep some stock for later use you can put the strained stock back on the stove and bring it to the boil and reduce it until your volume is 1/4 of its original. Once it is cool you can freeze it in ice block trays and you now have concentrated stock.

I use the chicken chops because I want both the meat and the stock for making soup. You can simply use bones or a whole chicken raw, the process is exactly the same, even the cooking time. if you use a whole chicken you must let it cool over night in the stock, it produces really lovely tender chicken.