If you did not know, we have an insanely popular post for roasted cauliflower, Roasted Cauliflower with Red Chile, Cilantro & Lime. If you haven’t read it or tried it, you need to do so. It’s that good. Of course, almost anything with red chile, cilantro and lime is going to be good. We decided to play with it and play with it we did. Roasted cauliflower with a twist – we turned it into soup. It was very good, too.
The last soup we posted was a chowder, Chicken Poblano Chowder, to be precise. It was a chunky, creamy soup/stew. Here is another creamy soup but its called a bisque. Other than that’s what I named it, why is it a bisque and not a chowder? Well, what is a bisque?
Traditionally, a french bisque is a thick, smooth soup made with a shellfish base in which the shellfish has been puréed. The most well-known bisques are lobster bisque, crayfish bisque, crab bisque, and shrimp bisque. They are thickened with rice, fish veloute, or crusts of bread fried in butter. The shellfish is cooked and the cooked shellfish and mirepoix are pounded in a mortar and, along with the thickener, rubbed through a very fine sieve. The soup is then finished with a little butter, cream and cayenne pepper with perhaps some sherry, cognac or brandy at the end. A little of the shellfish forming the base of the bisque is also reserved, diced and added at the end for garnish. A lot of work, eh? When I was learning how to cook, I actually made bisque in this fashion just to know how it was traditionally done. The result was truly mind boggling good but perhaps it was because I had put so much work into it that I mentally convinced myself it simply had to be that good.
As with everything else, society changes and there are technological advancements as time passes. When Auguste Escoffier was setting the standard for fine French cuisine, the electric age was just beginning. There were no blenders, food processors, mixers or any of the niceties of today’s modern kitchen. If you were going to make a smooth, luscious flavorful shellfish soup, you had to make it this way. What took countless hours to do by hand in the days of Escoffier are now accomplished in minutes in a modern kitchen. But what happened to change a bisque from a smooth, luscious shellfish soup into any thick, creamy fish, tomato, or vegetable based soup, i.e squash, tomato, mushroom, and red pepper bisque? It absolutely beats me as these latter soups traditionally were classified as “les purees.” Perhaps it was simple a marketing game to get people to try new soups or take an everyday soup, i.e. Campbell’s Tomato Soup and make it fancier, i.e. Campbell’s Tomato Bisque, which is lumpy. Go figure. Technically, this soup would be classified as Puree of Roasted Cauliflower Soup; however, inasmuch as it meets today’s standards for a bisque, we call it Roasted Cauliflower Bisque. Regardless what you call it, give it a try. It’s downright delicious.
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1-1/2 Tbsp red chile blend
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 lb grated white cheddar cheese
- 2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
- Sea salt, to taste
Using the cauliflower, red chile blend, garlic, and olive oil, follow the directions on Roasted Cauliflower with Red Chile, Cilantro & Lime for prepping and roasting the cauliflower. For the red chile blend, we used a blend of Ancho chile, Guajillo chile, and Pasilla Negra chile for a deeper flavor but the Red New Mexico chile will work fine.
Remove the roasted cauliflower from the oven and pour into vegetable broth.
Bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes to extract the flavors of the cauliflower into the broth. Now, pour into blender and puree.
Pour back into pot and heat over medium heat. Now, add heavy cream.
Stir to incorporate and heat through. Now add the grated white cheddar cheese
Stir to incorporate and melt the cheese. Salt, to taste, finish with chopped cilantro, serve and enjoy!