Now, I know what you’re thinking. Curry is not a typical spice in the Ukrainian chef’s arsenal. But this soup has been a great addition to Claudia’s cooking over the past few years. I didn’t really grow up having this dish, which is a good thing. Both me and my brother were pretty fussy kids growing up. If it wasn’t in the realm of BBQ hamburgers, perogies, and my personal favourite – Cheese Whiz sandwiches (yes, believe it!), we weren’t eating any of it. So, if Claudia put this in front of us prior to 1996, we would have probably made such a fuss that she never would have attempted this dish again. That, in itself, would have been a tragedy.
Curry (and other Asian culinary influences for that matter), began showing up in our household well after us kids became adults. Curryflower Soup is now one of the more “exotic” dishes in regular rotation. Its mellow curry flavour and hearty vegetables are perfect for the rainy days of summer and the freezing cold temperatures of winter.
You will need:
3 tbsp butter
3-4 large leeks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 head cauliflower (about 4 cups small florets)
1 sweet potato or yam
1.5 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
4 cups chicken broth (you can also substitute veggie broth as well)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cooked brown and wild rice blend
1 cup evaporated 2% milk
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
Because wild and brown rice take a bit longer to cook, we begin this recipe with this step first. Bring rice and 1 tbsp of butter to a boil. Reduce and simmer until cooked through. Set aside.
While you are waiting for that lovely rice to do its thing, you need to take the time to wash the leeks. This is a very important step, as leeks are grown often in sandy soil and are still quite gritty when purchased at the grocery store. Nobody wants sand in their soup. Trust me.
Chop the leeks finely.
Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of butter (or more if you desire – I’m pretty sure we used more. Actually, I’m positive we used more) in a non-stick soup pot over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic. Cook until leeks begin to soften (approximately 3 minutes). Use your judgement. If you find the leeks are not wilting down as quickly as they should, give it another stir with a bit more butter. That seemed to be Claudia’s answer (go figure) and it worked nicely!
Chop and add the sweet potato (or yam if you are Canadian and can never find sweet potato in any grocery store, ever.)
Cut up the head of cauliflower into small florets and add to the pot.
Enter the warm flavourings of curry and cumin! Stir and cook for 1 more minute.
How great does that look? We’re only half way there!
Add chicken broth, salt and pepper to pot. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
Delicious…but we’re not finished yet…
Transfer half the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Claudia recommends a blender that is approximately 32 years old – one in which you used to blend up liver for your first born baby daughter. Seriously folks, that is a true story – and that is THE blender!
Return pureed soup to pot with remaining soup and mix well.
Stir in milk and Swiss cheese.
Remember that rice? Stir it in!
Heat soup for 1 more minute.
And serve hot! Preferably in a Ukrainian bowl of course.
I am confident this recipe will be a regular in your kitchen as well.