Hot-smoked garlic bulbs. Packed with pungent smokey flavour and partially cooked, so the natural oils sweetly caramelise. The peeled cloves are mellow enough to be eaten raw, loosing their harsh garlicky rawness to a rich nutty smoked flavour. They carry the taste of the Barbecue into the kitchen through the Winter, and this is indeed a good thing.
This soup is made special from the addition of the smoked garlic, but if you can't source the garlic, slow roast some extra heads of garlic the next time you are roasting some meat and keep them in a sealed bag in the freezer.
Serves 4. Scale up the quantities as required
The base of this soup is caramelised onions and leeks. I used my pressure cooker technique - peeled one large head of the smoked garlic, finely shredded 1 large onion and 1 large leek (white part only), 2 large tablespoons of butter, a little water (4 tablespoons), salt, 4 or 5 fresh thyme sprigs, pinch of white pepper and a teaspoon of baking powder (to speed-up the caramelisation). Pop on the pressure cooker lid and after 5 minutes you should have wonderfully molten, golden onions, swimming in a soupy butter sauce.
Roughly chop the head of a medium cauliflower (keeping back a small handful for the garnish) and add to the pressure cooker. Pour in enough chicken stock to almost cover the cauliflower. I used water instead of stock and threw in 2 of the Knorr Chicken Stockpots as well. Back on with the pressure cooker lid for another 20 minutes.
While the cauliflower is cooking I prepared the garnish. Dry toasted some almond flakes. Pan fried the reserved cauliflower florets in brown butter until crisped (I crumbled the cauliflower into smaller pieces before adding to pan). Quick pickled some sultanas in a 50:50 mixture of white wine vinegar and warm water.
Use a hand blender to blitz the cauliflower soup, adding some milk or cream to thin the soup if it is a little too gloopy. Taste and season with salt.
Taste again and season some more.
Garnish with the crumbled almonds, brown butter cauliflower and pickled sultanas.