It was the “3 of 5-a-day” strapline in this month’s Good Food magazine along with the fact I had half a cauliflower begging to be used that persuaded me to give this soup a go – that and the fact that old faithfuls leek and potato and lentil and bacon have become a little, shall we say, “boring”.
Second son had been away on a school exchange trip to France all over the weekend, meaning that the tiger loaf bought on Saturday morning which is usually just crumbs by teatime, had survived until Monday, but now needed some creative thinking to avoid ending up on the shed roof for the birds. Croutons – perfect with this velvety white soup.
Serves 4 | 20 mins prep plus 20 mins cooking
- 2 tsp golden rapeseed oil
- 2 large garlic cloves crushed or chopped
- 2 leeks, mainly white parts, washed, halved and sliced (about 350g)
- 350g cauliflower in small florets or just chopped up
- 1 ltr vegetable stock
- 400g tin cannellini beans, rinsed
- 1/4 fresh nutmed, grated
- 100 ml whole milk
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- salt and pepper
- White crusty loaf – at least 2 days old and going stale, crusts cut off and sliced into 2cm cubes
- Rapeseed or olive oil – flavoured is nice – I used Broighter Gold’s Hickory Smoked
- Sea salt and freshly grated black pepper
- Sprinkling of mixed herbs or chipotle chilli flakes or both!
- Start by making the croutons – take the crusts off the bread and slice in 2 cm slices, then cut these into cubes
- Arrange the bread cubes on a baking tray, heat the oven to 170c and drizzle the cubes with your chosen oil – not too much, you don’t want them to be sodden with oil
- Season with salt, pepper, herbs, chilli flakes or whatever takes your fancy
- Bake in the oven for about 15 mins, shaking the tin half way through – remove and leave to cool while you make the soup
- Heat the oil in a large pan and add the crushed garlic, leeks and cauliflower. Cook over a low-med heat for 5 mins or so until starting to soften, but not colouring
- Add the hot vegetable stock and a few gratings of nutmeg and simmer for 10 mins until the leeks and cauliflower are tender
- Add the rinsed beans and cook for a further 5 mins or so until heated through then add the milk and blitz with a hand blender until smooth and creamy
- Season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika and serve with a few croutons sprinkled on top.