Photo by Stephanie Bourgeois

Ingredients:

Curried Raisin Sauce:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup sake
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons miso
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 small beets

Cauliflower Purée:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 1/2 cups diced onions
1/2 cup sliced garlic
1/4 cup chopped galangal
4 cloves
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 nutmeg pod, broken up into pieces
Salt to taste
9 cups cauliflower florets, divided (about 2 pounds)
5 cups water
5 cups milk
1 cup coconut milk
6 large Brussels sprouts
Neutral oil, such as canola or vegetable, for frying

Recipe notes: Galangal is available in Asian markets.

RECIPE

Cauliflower Soup with Curried Raisin Sauce and Crispy Brussels Sprouts

Lon Symensma

ChoLon, Denver

This elegant and complex soup from chef Lon Symensma uses several ingredients from the Asian pantry, like coconut milk, miso, and galangal.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Method:

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a small pot over low heat. Stir in the curry powder and cook until very aromatic, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer; continue simmering for 10 minutes. Transfer the contents of the pot to a blender and blend until completely emulsified. Let cool to room temperature and reserve.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place the beets on a piece of aluminum foil and fold up the sides to form a pouch. Add 2 tablespoons of water, then seal the pouch. Bake until the beets are tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. When the beets are cool enough to touch, remove them from the packet and peel off the skins. Cut into 1-inch pieces and set aside.

While the beets are cooking, make the cauliflower purée. Melt the butter in a large pot over low heat. Add the onions, garlic, and galangal; cook until very tender and aromatic, about 10 minutes. Tie the cloves, star anise, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a piece of cheesecloth. Add the spices to the pot and sauté over medium heat until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Season with salt. Stir in 8 cups of the cauliflower florets and cook until very tender, about 15 minutes. Add the water and milk and bring to a simmer; continue simmering for 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and discard the spice pouch. Add the coconut milk and purée the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and keep warm until ready to serve.

Remove the large outer leaves from the Brussels sprouts; reserve the rest of the Brussels sprouts for another use. Heat an inch of the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot to 350ºF. Fry the Brussel sprout leaves until crispy, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove the leaves from the oil and place them on paper towels to drain. Increase the heat of the oil to 450ºF. Add the remaining cauliflower florets and fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove the florets from the oil and place them on paper towels to drain.

To serve, spoon a few tablespoons of the raisin sauce into a soup bowl. Top with a few beet pieces, Brussels sprout leaves, and cauliflower florets. Pour the cauliflower purée over the vegetables.