About 20 years ago my sister gave me a pressure cooker for Christmas. My response was “Hey, it’s a pressure cooker?!?” cue forced smile. She laughed at me and said “You know, you are going to love it.”. That was a dubious endorsement as my sister is not known for her culinary skills. She also provided me with a copy of Lorna Sass’s Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure, which by the way is still in print.
Good thing because I knew diddly-squat about using a pressure cooker.
I took to trying my pressure cooker following Lorna’s advice. Her book is cornucopia of tips, guides and recipes. A must if you are learning how to use a pressure cooker.
It didn’t take long for the pressure cooker to become my favourite kitchen appliance. And not just mine, flatmates would bemoan whenever I moved out because “Now they would have to buy a pressure cooker.”.
I guess I’m lucky that 20 years on I have been able to prise my old reliable, jiggle top T-Fal out of my former flatmates hands.
When I was teaching the boys how to cook it was easy to get them to use the pressure cooker. Just the idea that is could explode if we weren’t careful was all the encouragement they needed. Modern pressure cookers have one or more backups to prevent the buildup of excess pressure and are quite safe. The boys didn’t need to know that. The added bonus is that it’s fast so the results are quick for those with short attention spans.
One of their favourite things to make in the pressure cooker was Cauliflower Soup. The warm bowls of sweet, creaminess are the perfect antidote for a rainy, winter’s day spent watching 8-year-olds play rugby. The boys have even been known to have it for breakfast before skiing or rugby. Enjoy my friends.
Cauliflower soup is a creamy, sweet winter warmer.
Required skills: boiling water; cook in butter without burning; chopping without losing a finger; setting a timer and doing things when it dings; pureeing with a stick blender hot stuff without burning yourself.
This is the perfect dish for a pressure cooker as it doesn’t matter if the vegetables are cooked to the point of moosh, you want them that way. You can do this with conventional cooking, it just takes longer. I prefer using leeks over onion as they have a more buttery flavour. I always make a whole cauliflower and if it’s just the two of us I freeze half before adding the cream. Oh, I know it says optional for the cream but seriously it makes such a difference.
- 25 gms butter
- 1 leek or ½ of an onion roughly chopped
- 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 head of cauliflower, florets broken off and stem diced
- 1 liter of preservative and added glutamate free chicken or vegetable stock plus some extra to thin the finished soup to the right consistency.
- 350 ml heavy (whipping) cream (optional but oh so good)
- ½ to 1 cup Jarlsberg cheese, grated (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pressure cooker or large stock pot
- Stick blender
- Sweat the leek or onion in the butter on low heat in the pressure cooker or saucepan.
- Once soft add the cauliflower stems and sweat for another 3-5 minutes.
- Add potatoes and remaining cauliflower to the pot.
- Add stock until the vegetables are just covered.
- Secure pressure cooker lid and bring to high pressure. If using natural release cook for 5 minutes at high pressure. If you are in a hurry and want to quick release cook for 10 minutes at high pressure.
- If you are using conventional cooking bring to a boil, reduce heat to a high simmer and cover. Cook for 30-45 minutes and vegetables are falling apart.
- Puree the vegetables and stock with a stick blender until smooth. Be careful, it is really hot. It will be quite thick.
- Taste and adjust flavour with salt and pepper.
- If you are using the Jarlsberg cheese stir through with the stick blender.
- If you are going to freeze some of the soup for another day nows the time to set it aside. You shouldn’t freeze it if the cream has been added.
- Thin the soup to the correct consistency with the heavy cream or additional stock. Bring to a low simmer for 5 minutes to allow flavours to meld together.
So my friends, what is your go to winter warmer?