3 stalks celery chopped (6oz) 3 carrots chopped (8oz) 2 onions chopped (8oz) 8 mushrooms chopped (4oz) 1 head cauliflower (20oz) 2 tablespoons dried parsley 8 ounces Merci Buckets Saison by Bucket Brewery 6 cups stock (vegetable or chicken) 3 ounces butter (3/4 stick) 3 cups milk 1 cup heavy cream 4 ounces butter (one stick) 2.5 ounces AP flour Salt and pepper to taste
Yet another soup! This is really more a chowder with a nice creamy base. Lots to chop, but this recipe makes a whole pot of soup; enough to eat tonight and more to save for another day.
So begin by chopping all the vegetables: celery, carrots, onions, mushrooms and cauliflower. I don’t actually chop the cauliflower. I break the larger flowers apart, the cut some stems and break apart again until I get the size flowerets that I desire. When I made this recipe this week I was fortunate to have a very fresh yellow cauliflower right from the Farmer’s Market.
Melt the 3oz of butter in the soup pot and then add the onions and celery to begin softening the vegetables. Cook at medium for about 3 minutes, stirring one or twice to mix and coat them. Next add the mushrooms, mix and cook for 3 more minutes, then repeat with the carrots and finally the cauliflower.
Sprinkle the parsley on top and add the Merci Buckets, the wonderful new saison from Bucket Brewery. Now cover and simmer the vegetables in the beer broth for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Now add the stock, mine was homemade chicken this time. Let the mixture simmer for about an hour.
Meanwhile lets whip up some white sauce or béchamel. Béchamel is a building block for so many dishes, that it’s great to have it mastered. We start with the roux, which is itself the basis for so many sauces and gravies that you’ll be glad you know it too.
A roux is a mixture of equal parts of oil, butter, or fat renderings and flour. The roux mixture is cooked at least three to five minutes over low heat to remove the raw flavor of the flour, then the liquid is added which thickens into the gravy. The roux method is least likely to produce lumpy gravy or sauce.
To make the roux, melt 4 ounces of butter in a space pan over medium heat, being careful not to scorch it. When it bubbles up, whisk in the flour, adding only about a third at a time, giving the butter time to absorb it. You should have a fairly smooth mixture and now we’ll cook it for 4-5 minutes whisking frequently. This part takes some practice, because you want to cook the flour feel from the mixture without scorching it, which is easy to do. Error on the side of taking bit more time, rather than too hot. The mouth-feel will be very smooth when its ready, not grainy like raw flour.
During this time warm the milk, but don’t boil it. Adding warm liquid to a roux makes it much easier to blend it to a smooth sauce.
When the roux is ready, add the warm milk slowly to the roux while stirring. It should immediately begin to thicken. Keep whisking until its blended to a smooth consistency while bringing it back to a simmer. Whisk in the cream and bring it back to a simmer one more time. This sauce recipe was designed to be quite thick to stand up when added to the broth in the soup, so simmer a few more minutes to desired thickness, then turn it off and cover it until its time to blend it into the soup. My white sauce cooled to quite a thick consistency before I was ready to blend it, but not to worry, adding it too the warm soup base will bring it to just right consistency for your chowder.
When the soup base had simmered for about and hour, I mixed in the white sauce, then let the chowder simmer for about 30 more minutes to let all the flavors meld.
Just like last week, we served this with a new batch of Chili Cheese Garlic Bacon Pull-Apart and more Merci Buckets.