cream of cauliflower and apple soup.
wasn’t the best advertising line, but it was undeniably
true: Soup is good food.
frosty night when the wind is blowing, and the chill sinks
deep into your bones, what is it that you turn to? Soup.
When you want something warming and comforting after a
difficult day, what is it that you most desire? Soup. When
you have a cold, what is the only thing that can make you
feel better? Soup, especially if it has chicken and noodles
restoreth the soul. And of course it is always best when
your cup runneth over.
most elemental level, soup is just water with a bunch of
other stuff cooked in it. And that is what makes it so
exciting. You can have a free hand to do with it what you
for instance, my mother’s cabbage soup, which is still one
of my favorite soups ever. When she and my father were first
married, she asked if he had any favorite dishes he wanted
her to prepare. He said he loved a cabbage soup from a
famous local delicatessen.
mother called the wife of the deli owner and asked for the
recipe. The woman was happy to oblige — but she only knew
how to make it for a restaurant, and even then her
measurements were inexact.
mother mixed a bit of this and a handful of that, then threw
in a dash of something else, and ended up with a cabbage
soup. She served it to my father, who said it wasn’t at
all like the original soup from the delicatessen. It was
better. She has been making it ever since.
years ago, I asked my mother for the recipe. She wasn’t
very specific. She said to use a bit of this and a handful
of that and maybe a dash of something else.
down as much of this non-recipe as I could and tried making
it for myself. It tasted remarkably like my mother’s.
love so much about the soup are its contradictions. It is a
thin broth, but it is filled with hearty pieces of beef and
cabbage. It is made with a lot of tomatoes, but it isn’t
remotely a tomato soup. It is both sweet and sour. And it
has seasonings that you would not expect to find in soup,
such as allspice and cloves.
unlike other soups you have had, and it is certainly unlike
the soup they sold at the delicatessen, but it is little
short of wonderful.
I made an onion soup, but I didn’t want a familiar,
traditional French onion soup. So I went next door to
Belgium to cook a Flemish Onion Soup.
is the difference? There are several, beginning with the
onions that are only lightly browned, yielding a taste that
is less sweet and more oniony. The soup is flavored with
potatoes and then pureed, and only then is it enlivened with
with croutons and cheese on top, it is a completely
different soup — and not just because the cheese is
sprinkled rather than melted. This version is a much lighter
soup, with a comforting onion flavor that is subtle and
beautifully tempered by the blended potatoes. It’s
irresistible without being overpowering.
is also the key to a gorgeous curried cauliflower soup.
Curry and cauliflower are a classic combination, and so are
curry and cream — though this soup uses relatively little
other main ingredient in this soup is apples. Golden
Delicious apples, which the recipe recommends, are sweet but
not too sweet, just enough to balance the heat from the
together, the soup is smooth and almost silky. It is a dish
to serve when you want to impress someone, but it is easy
enough that you’ll want to make it for yourself.
I cooked the best lentil soup I have ever made.
one begins with red lentils, which cook faster and more
thoroughly than the more popular green kind. They dissolve
into a kind of thickness, like a puree without having to
spice is not heavy — a little cumin and coriander, plus
garlic, and a pinch of pepper. What makes the soup stand out
so much is the juice from a lemon, which brightens the
flavor and brilliantly contrasts with the earthiness of the
and you won’t want to stop eating it. It’s M’m! M’m!
pounds short ribs
large onion, sliced thin
small head cabbage, sliced thin
whole allspice berries
1/2-ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar
cup red wine vinegar
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teaspoon black pepper
teaspoon ground allspice
Trim the fat from the ribs. In a large pot or Dutch oven,
heat oil over medium-high heat. Add ribs and onions, season
with salt and pepper, and cook until the beef is browned on
all sides and the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes.
Pour out the fat.
water, cabbage and allspice berries. Bring to a boil, then
lower the temperature and simmer 30 minutes, skimming foam
off the top when necessary.
Break up tomatoes with your hands or in a blender. Add
tomatoes, brown sugar, vinegar, pepper and ground allspice.
Bring to a boil, lower temperature and simmer until meat is
completely cooked and has pulled away at least 1/2 inch from
the edge of the bone, about 30 minutes. Taste and correct
for salt and pepper. If the broth is too weak, continue
simmering until the flavors are more concentrated.
serving: 188 calories; 7 g fat; 2 g saturated fat; 20 mg
cholesterol; 8 g protein; 22 g carbohydrate; 16 g sugar; 3 g
fiber; 312 mg sodium; 73 mg calcium.
ONION SOUP WITH CHEESE
tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
pounds yellow onions, thinly sliced
large baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
and white pepper, to taste
nutmeg, preferably fresh, to taste
tablespoons minced chives, optional
cup grated Gruyere cheese
Melt the butter in a heavy soup pot over low heat. Add the
onions and increase the heat to medium. Cook stirring
occasionally, until translucent, 10 minutes. Let the onions
brown slightly for a more pronounced flavor.
the potatoes, water and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce
the heat. Simmer, covered, until the potatoes are soft, 20
to 25 minutes.
Discard the bay leaf and let the soup cool slightly. Press
the soup through a food mill or purée in batches in a
blender or food processor until smooth.
Return the purée to the pot and gradually stir in the milk.
Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Reheat the soup gently before serving. Do not let it boil.
Serve hot, in warmed soup plates. If desired, sprinkle with
chives and float croutons in each soup plate. Place the
grated cheese in a bowl and pass at the table.
serving: 223 calories; 14 g fat; 8 g saturated fat; 39 mg
cholesterol; 8 g protein; 19 g carbohydrate; 3 g sugar; 2 g
fiber; 154 mg sodium; 208 mg calcium.
from "Everybody Eats Well in Belgium Cookbook," by
Ruth Van Waerebeek, with Maria Robbins
CREAM OF CAULIFLOWER AND APPLE SOUP
4 to 6 servings
the curried cream of cauliflower
tablespoons sweet (unsalted) butter
teaspoons Madras curry powder
teaspoon saffron threads or 2 pinches saffron powder
Golden Delicious apple (or other apple), peeled, split,
cored and sliced
cauliflower (about 1 small to medium head), broken into
tablespoon chives, minced
the curried apple dice
Golden Delicious apple (or other apple), peeled, split,
cored, in 1/4-inch dice
teaspoon Madras curry powder
teaspoon saffron threads or 1 pinch saffron powder
the curried cream of cauliflower: Warm the chicken stock
over medium heat. Melt the butter in a heavy pot over
medium-low heat. Add the onions, curry powder and saffron
and sweat for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the sliced
apple and sweat for 5 more minutes, stirring often. Add the
cauliflower and warm chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Boil until the cauliflower is tender when pierced with a
knife, about 20 minutes. Add the cream and cook for 3 more
minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the soup in
batches to a blender or food processor and purée at high
speed until very smooth. Keep warm until ready to serve, or
refrigerate when cool and reheat just before serving.
the curried apple dice: Place the apple dice with 1
tablespoon of water in a pan over medium heat. Add the curry
powder and saffron, and season to taste with salt and
pepper. Mix well, cover with a lid, and cook for 3 minutes.
Strain and keep warm on the side.
serving (based on 6): 273 calories; 20 g fat; 12 g saturated
fat; 58 mg cholesterol; 7 g protein; 19 g carbohydrate; 10 g
sugar; 3 g fiber; 263 mg sodium; 62 mg calcium.
from "Cooking With Daniel Boulud," by Daniel
6 to 8 servings
tablespoons olive oil
large onion, chopped
cloves garlic, crushed
1 to 1
1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 to 1
1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
of cayenne pepper
cups split red lentils
of celery leaves, chopped, or 1 rib celery, sliced
carrot, finely chopped
quarts chicken stock
of 1 lemon
to 2 large onions, sliced
2 to 3
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 1
1/2 pita breads to make croutons, optional
lemon, sliced into wedges, for serving, optional
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and
cook until softened. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander and
cayenne pepper, and stir.
the lentils, celery leaves and carrot, pour in the stock,
and simmer 30 to 45 minutes until the lentils have largely
disintegrated. Add salt and pepper, and water if the soup
needs thickening; it should be thin, like light cream. Stir
in the lemon juice.
the garnish, fry the onions in the oil, first covered over
low heat, stirring occasionally, then uncovered over medium
and high heat, stirring often, until very brown and almost
Split and open the pita breads and toast in the oven or in a
toaster oven, until they are crisp and lightly browned.
Break them into small pieces to make croutons.
Serve the soup very hot. Garnish each serving with a
tablespoon of fried onions and pass the lemon wedges and
croutons, if you like, for people to help themselves.
serving (based on 8): 343 calories; 13 g fat; 2 g saturated
fat; 7 mg cholesterol; 17 g protein; 41 g carbohydrate; 6 g
sugar; 6 g fiber; 358 mg sodium; 48 mg calcium.
from "The New Book of Middle Eastern Food," by