Creamy saffron-cauliflower soup
Just because it's dark and chilly doesn't mean that you have to go without colour on the table. This brilliantly yellow soup is packed with flavour and perfect for a cold night. plus, it's full of seasonal veg to help keep you in peak condition.
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 1 stick celery, diced
- 1 leek, diced
- 3 medium potatoes, diced
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 head cauliflower, finely chopped
- 2L chicken stock
- 200ml cream
- ½g saffron threads, soaked in 1 Tbsp water
- salt flakes and freshly-milled black pepper
- 4 baby beetroot, peeled
- vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 1 bunch chives, snipped
- herb salt, crusty bread and créme fraîche, to serve
1 Sauté the onion, celery, half the leek and one potato in butter in a large saucepan over a moderate heat for 5 minutes, until just softened, but not coloured. Add the garlic, bay leaves and fennel seeds and cook for 2 more minutes.
2 Add half the cauliflower, stock, cream and saffron, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender. Purée with a stick blender, then season with salt and pepper and set aside.
3 Boil the remaining cauliflower and potato until just tender, drain well, then add to the soup. Season with salt and pepper.
4 Slice the beetroot very finely on a mandoline, then pat dry with kitchen paper. Fry in hot (180°C) vegetable oil for 2 minutes, until crispy, then drain on kitchen paper. Dust with herb salt*.
5 Serve the soup scattered with chives with a stack of beetroot chips, crusty bread and crème fraîche.
* Make your own herb salt by pounding 1 bunch sage, ¼ bunch thyme and ¼ cup rock salt in a mortar until fine. Dry slowly, then store airtight.