Soup. Some people consider it essential to start a meal. Speedy and Sam feel that way; Alex and I are okay without it. On those days when I am inclined to make a soup in addition to the main course, I prefer that it be a real soup dish and not just a token broth. Meaning? Meaning, it has to have a lot of things in it. Vegetables, meat, color, texture… everything. Like this cauliflower, peas and ham soup. Chunky, vibrant and inviting.
If you’re thinking it already, I’ll confirm it — no, I don’t like consommé. If consommé is served with a good crusty bread and creamy butter, I’ll end up eating a huge amount of bread and butter, and about half a cup of broth. In fact, I can only tolerate clear soup if it comes with chunks of vegetables and meat, as in the case of the ubiquitous nilaga and the gingery tinola. It’s a personal preference, no doubt, but since I do the bulk of the cooking in this house, my preference prevails. Privilege of the cook.
Now, the recipe.
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup onion finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 5 to 6 cups broth preferably homemade
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- a head of cauliflower
- 1/3 cup sweet peas
- 1/2 cup cream (please click and read before asking what kind)
- strips of ham as much or as little as you like
- parsley chopped, to garnish
Heat the butter in a pot.
Add the chopped onion and cook over medium-low heat until softened.
Dump in the flour and stir quickly. Proceed to make a blonde roux (see how to make a roux).
Pour in the broth, about half a cup at a time, stirring as you pour. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil.
While waiting for the soup to boil, cut the cauliflower into florets. Because this is a soup dish, ideally, the size of the florets should be small enough to fit into a spoon.
When the soup boils, add the cauliflower florets and the peas. Add more salt and pepper. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cauliflower florets are soft but not mushy.
Off the heat, stir in the cream. Adjust the seasonings one last time.
Ladle into soup bowls. Sprinkle the ham and parsley on top. Serve the cauliflower, peas and ham soup hot.
If you prefer to thicken your soup with potatoes rather than a roux, click here for an older cauliflower soup recipe.