Cuisine Quest: Calming power of cauliflower soup
Scandia Kaffe House was founded by the Neergaard family in the 1970s. It was one of the few places in town to get sweets, such as marzipan cake and Danish pastries, as well as Scandinavian breads, salads, sandwiches and soups.
Scandia closed a few years ago, but daughter Eva Neergaard Burt was willing to share the recipe for cream of cauliflower and meatball soup, a request of reader Clay Perschon, who wrote that "a bowl of this soup, a slice of rye bread and a cup of coffee provided a hearty lunch on a cold winter day."
Burt replied in an e-mail that the recipe was given to her Norwegian mother, who was pregnant with Burt at the time, by the chef at the Hotel Grand Kristiansund, which is located on Norway's western coast. The soup was about the only thing Burt's mother could keep down and she begged the chef for the recipe, which has been revised a bit over time.
Requests • Reminiscing about Big City Soup last week caused Diane Blackburn to write in, requesting the restaurant's recipe for crab and brie soup.
Stacy Lund is looking for a recipe for the sauce that's used on the house pasta at Red Butte CafÃ©.
Gennie Kirch is looking for a recipe for gyros with red sauce from the old Greek Shishkabob.
Amy Bjorge would like the enchilada sauce recipe from El Matador.
Carri Whitaker has requested the recipe for cinnamon-herb tea from RJ Wheatfields, which used to be in Trolley Square.
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Cream of cauliflower and meatball soup
1 large cauliflower, rinsed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (32-ounce) box beef broth
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley or dried parsley
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper plus more as needed
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup potato or corn starch
1 onion, minced
2 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt plus more as needed
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
White sauce (bechamel)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
For the soup, in a large pot over medium heat, combine the cauliflower, beef broth, parsley and white pepper.
Cook, covered, until the cauliflower is tender when pierced with a knife, 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the meatballs. In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the ground beef, potato starch, onion, nutmeg, salt, black pepper and cream. Mix on low speed, about 5 minutes. Transfer the meat mixture to a large pastry bag or a resealable plastic freezer bag with one corner cut off.
Raise the heat to high on the cauliflower mixture. When the liquid begins to boil, pinch off 3/4-inch balls of the meat mixture and drop into the boiling cauliflower mixture. Spread the balls over the cauliflower, which will begin to get crowded. Do not stir. Reduce the heat to low and cook the meatballs, covered, about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile for the sauce, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth and lightly golden, 2-3 minutes. Using a whisk, add the milk and cream and stir until the sauce is smooth and homogenous. Reduce heat to low.
Carefully stir the cauliflower-meat mixture to incorporate the cooked meatballs into the soup. Add about 1 cup of the cauliflower-meat mixture into the white sauce, stirring until blended, then pour all of the white sauce into the cauliflower-meat mixture. Stir to combine. Cook over low heat, covered and stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Makes • 8-10 servings
Source • Eva Neergaard Burt, Scandia Kaffe House