Cauliflower Corn Soup

Here's another one from my old recipe book of Martha Stewart clippings. The full name is "Cauliflower and Roasted Corn soup with Chanterelle Mushrooms (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Fungus)."

The kids were to be sleeping over my mother-in-law's so I was looking forward to making something adult-oriented. Panda came home from a birthday party with a stomach ache and ended up staying home, but she was only interested in saltines and applesauce so I could continue with the menu as planned.

Jeeps was shopping in the vicinity of DeCicco's so I sent him in for a few ingredients, including aforementioned chanterelles, which I was positive DeCicco's would have. Alas, they didn't. After a little debate we figured baby portobellos would probably make a good substitute.  

Jeeps kept sending excited texts, such as, "This place rocks!"  "Un-be-LEEV-able!"  and my favorite, "Did you SEE the beer section?!"  The excitement was warranted. DeCicco's stocks a minimal selection of wine but has an entire long wall devoted to artisan, hand-crafted and locally brewed beer. So home my baby came with his new suit, new shoes, shallots, mushrooms, bay leaves, fresh thyme, and a six-pack of Old Slugger.

Cauliflower and Roasted Corn Soup

  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 ears fresh corn, kernels shaved from the cob (and no, I did not shave. I had a bag of Trader Joe's sweet roasted corn. I measured out 1 1/2 cups for the soup and 1 cup to roast for garnish, more on this later)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 ounces fresh chanterelle mushrooms, wiped clean (I used half my 8-oz box of mushrooms, wiped clean and quartered. At the end of the day, the mushrooms were so delicious in the soup that I wished I'd used the entire box)
  • 1 1/2 pounds cauliflower, cut into florets.
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • Cayenne pepper to taste

The recipe starts off with you roasting the kernels from one of the ears of corn at 400 for 5 minutes. I had my one cup of reserved corn and decided to use a trick that my friend Cyd taught me, which is to toast the kernels on the stove with salt and spice. Drain the corn and pat dry as much as possible before putting the kernels in a dry, non-stick skillet on medium-low heat. Sprinkle with salt and a pinch of paprika. As with caramelized onions, low heat and long time is the trick. Just babysit them and shake the pan every now and again. Once they are nice and browned and crunchy, set aside.

Melt butter in your soup pot over medium heat, add shallots, garlic, onion. Cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms, continue to cook until mushrooms soften, another 4 minutes. Remove mushrooms from pot and set aside.

Add unroasted corn, cauliflower, stock, bay leaves and thyme (Ms. Stewart advises to tie up the bay and thyme in cheesecloth to make a bouquet garni; if you have cheesecloth, go right ahead, but don't sweat it—at the end you just pick out the leaves and stems by hand). Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, until cauliflower is tender.

Remove bay leaves and thyme stems and discard. Working in batches in blender, or with immersion blender, puree soup until smooth. Return soup to pot over medium-low heat. Stir in reserved mushrooms. Add cayenne and salt to taste.  

Serve garnished with toasted kernels and fresh chopped parsley.

To go with the soup, I had a tube of Trader Joe's crescent biscuit dough. I haven't had these babies in years. They can't possibly be good for you but they are sooooo good.

The soup was delicious.  Even the invalid had a little bit in a ramekin, without the mushrooms.  I am not a mushroom aficionado at all so I don't know what kind of difference the chanterelles would have made, but if I ever see them in the store, I know I'll be giving this soup another go.