The Cottage Smallholder


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Easy, chic and cheap recipes: delicate cauliflower leaf and pecorino soup

Photo: Cauliflower leaf soup

Photo: Cauliflower leaf soup

For years it has hurt me to throw away the green outer leaves of the cauliflower. I have simmered them for the chickens in the past but mainly they are added to our kitchen compost bin.

Having had the tip from John Coe – that all the leaves on the sprouting broccoli plant are edible – I decided to experiment with the cauli leaves this week. I chopped up the main stalk and tore the leaves away from the fibrous stems. Then I simmered them for about twenty minutes in vegetable stock. They looked really unappetising when I lifted the lid. So I liquidised the leaves using my stick blender. The basic soup tasted delicious. Delicate and sweet. I was amazed.

I thickened it with three tiny cooked new potatoes that were knocking about beside the cooker, added a few herbs and spices and a handful of pecorino cheese. Any strong tasting cheese would do. The secret is just to add a little to enhance rather than drown the gentle cauliflower flavours.

Danny wasn’t keen on tasting it.
“I don’t want to try it as I know that it’s made with some hoary old leaves – I peeked in the pot when you were out at work.”
“Oh come on! I want to hear your opinion.”
Danny tasted a teeny fairy sized drop and then made a lunge for the saucepan.
“It’s really good.”

So next time, don’t buy a trimmed cauliflower. Get one with leaves on and enjoy this soup. Apart from the cheese, potatoes and spices it’s almost free.

Delicate cauliflower leaf and pecorino soup recipe for four

Ingredients:

  • The outer leaves from a medium head of cauliflower
  • Vegetable stock to cover (I used a tsp of vegetable stock powder)
  • 1 clove of garlic or a tsp of garlic granules
  • Quarter tsp of powdered mace
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Three cooked new potatoes or a cooked medium potato (skinned)
  • 25g of pecorino cheese (stilton/mature cheddar/parmesan)
  • Lashings of ground white pepper
  • A squeeze of lemon juice to enhance the flavours

Method:

  1. Strip the outer leaves from a cauliflower and remove the thick, stringy central stems. Chop up the central stalk.
  2. Put these in a saucepan, cover with vegetable stock  and simmer until soft (about 15-20 minutes).
  3. Add the cooked potatoes, the spices and herbs. Liquidise using a stick blender
    Add the finely grated cheese and stir to dissolve.
  4. Serve in warm bowls with a garnish of fresh basil leaves and hot crusty rolls.

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23 Comments

  1. Martine ford

    Just made this tonight and its came out lovely got enough for 7 days worth meals and its lovely yummy

  2. Thank you for this recipe; a city dweller, I don’t have the facilities to compost and hate throwing away vegetable leaves and stalks. This is a delicious way of using the whole cauli and I feel really virtuous every time I make it!

  3. I just made this with some very old and hard goat’s cheese. Wow.
    Looking forward to dinner tomorrow night already!
    Thanks!

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