700g cauliflower, broken into florets
1 onion, peeled, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 tbsp plain flour
2 litres hot chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1½ cups milk
½ cup French lentils
150g broad beans
1 tbsp olive oil
4 slices pancetta, finely sliced (optional)
6 eggs, for poaching (optional)
shaved parmesan and toasted
poppy seeds, to serve
Heat the first measure of butter in a saucepan. Add cauliflower, onion and celery. Cook, but do not allow to brown.
Mix in first measure of flour and cook for 1 minute.
Gradually add hot stock. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Puree the mix in batches in a blender or food processor.
In another saucepan melt second measure of butter, add second measure of flour and cook until frothy. Gradually add milk and bring slowly
to the boil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add white sauce to cauliflower puree, to thicken.
Cook French lentils in a pot of boiling water for 18 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
Blanch broad beans in another small pot of water until green and tender. Peel off outer husks.
Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Fry lentils and broad beans with pancetta until pancetta is crispy. Set aside.
If using poached eggs, heat a pan of water to a simmer. Crack each egg into the water and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Remove each egg with a slotted spoon and place on absorbent kitchen paper.
Serve soup in shallow bowls with a poached egg on top of each and sprinkled with bean and pancetta mix. Garnish with parmesan shavings and a few toasted poppy seeds.
TIP: To reduce the browning of cauliflower soup, cook the soup in good quality steel pots. Aluminium in pots will cause the soup to turn grey in colour.