Recipe: Velouté Dubarry – cauliflower soup

Ingredients

1kg cauliflower

160g leeks (white bits only)

80g flour

2 litres veal stock (see chapter 5 recipe)

For the finishing touch you’ll also need:

200ml thick cream

4 egg yolks

A little flour

A few cauliflower florets

Method

So, despite what you may think a velouté, in soup terms, is – and I’m quoting from the official recipe book here – a “Particularly unctuous soup made with a base of veal velouté (white veal stock and a white roux sauce) or a Béchamel sauce in which the appropriate vegetable (cauliflower, celery, cucumber, asparagus, lettuce, etc.) has been cooked. They are finished AT THE END ONLY with cream or a mixture of cream and egg yolks.

Now you know.

And why DuBarry? Well, Jeanne Bécu, Comtesse du Barry, was the final ‘favourite’ of King Louis XV, who was guillotined a few years after the French revolution in 1793. It was her cook Louis Signot who created the dish and named it after her and, ever since, Dubarry means ‘with cauliflower’. That’s how it works in France – when you’re really famous they name a food after you – cf Brillat-Savarin and Peche Melba.

First, prepare your vegetables: break the cauliflower down into small florets and chop up the leek finely, sweating off the latter in a little of the butter and then adding the flour when they’re transparent. This is your roux, which you cook for three to four minutes before removing it from the heat and adding, little by little, your boiling veal stock, stirring continuously. Then add the cauliflower and salt and simmer gently, covered, for 40-45 minutes.

Prepare the cream and/or egg yolks by just beating them together (or just open the cream if you’re not using egg yolks – they do add to the unctuosity, though). When the cauliflower’s cooked, mix it with your €9.99 Lidl stick mixer/£199.95 KitchenAid model (this one will make your soup 20 times more unctuous because it’s 20 times more expensive), re-boil the soup (‘cause your mixer’s covered with nasty bacteria) and then, away from the heat, stir in your cream and/or egg yolks delicately, as the official recipe says.

Boil again because, hey, pass through a Chinois fine sieve, pour it into your soup dish, add your reserved cauliflower florets as decoration and, if you like, some chervil and voila. The best cauliflower soup you’ve ever tasted. Guaranteed.

And, obviously, you call it ‘Velouté du Barry’ to your guests and then look surprised, even mildly, smugly horrified, when they admit to not knowing it’s really cauliflower soup.

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3 thoughts on “Recipe: Velouté Dubarry – cauliflower soup

    • It’s a pretty old-school way of cooking now in fact – this recipe goes back to 18th century France, pre-Revolution in fact. Escoffier codified this way of thickening soups, sauces and so on and it was against this that the ‘Nouvelle Cuisine’ movement, led by Fernand Point, rebelled. Point said that flour tasted, erm, floury and it would be better to thicken things by reduction and then add cream and/or butter. In fact, roux-based sauces can be very unctuous IF you cook the roux for long enough. My mentor chef advised popping them into a low oven for a few hours to this end – and it works, the flour is completely cooked out and the result is very ‘creamy’ and unctuous.
      If you’re adding it to a soup do so at the start, as in this recipe, so it’s cooked through. You can also use cornflour mixed with a little water towards the end of a cooking period to thicken a soup or sauce but, again, you need to cook it through thoroughly to avoid it tasting floury.
      Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

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