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Le Soir Cauliflower Veloute with Buttered Croutons

1 large head cauliflower
2 stalks celery
1 large white onion, peeled
1 leek, white parts only
1/4 lb. plus 2 T. unsalted butter
1 qt. chicken stock
1 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 qt. heavy cream
salt and pepper

Remove the green leaves from the cauliflower and chop into small pieces. Roughly chop the celery, onions and leeks. Wash everything under cold water.

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the 1/4 lb. of butter; add the celery, onions and leeks. Saute until tender, 5-7 minutes, being careful not to brown the vegetables. Add the cauliflower and chicken stock. Cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan over medium heat, brown the remaining 2 T. butter, quickly add the diced bread and toss until the bread becomes crisp and golden brown, 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

When the cauliflower is tender, add the heavy cream. Bring to just under a boil and immediately remove from the heat. Puree and strain through a fine strainer. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among 6 bowls and top with the buttered croutons.

Makes 6 servings.

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