Why It Works
- Lightly browning the onion and garlic in butter enhances their sweetness and complexity.
- Your choice of liquid means you can go sweet and full-bodied with heavy cream, or more savory and rich with chicken stock (or use a combination of the two).
This clean and simple cauliflower purée is made by simmering and then puréeing cauliflower and aromatics in a liquid, like cream or chicken stock. It delivers a pure cauliflower flavor with a satiny texture, and it's the perfect choice when you want a flavorful purée that's still restrained enough to let the other parts of your dinner do the talking—say, a beautiful roast chicken with a crackling brown skin and savory jus.
- 2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter
- 1 large (8-ounce; 225g) yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 (2-pound; 925g) head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
- 2 cups (475ml) heavy cream or homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock (or a combination of the two; see note)
- 1 sprig thyme
- Kosher salt
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes; lower heat as necessary to prevent browning.
Add cauliflower, cream and/or stock, and thyme. Cover, bring to a simmer, and cook, adjusting heat to maintain simmer, until cauliflower is tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Uncover and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by about three-quarters, about 20 minutes. Discard thyme sprig.
Using a blender or immersion blender, blend cauliflower and liquid to form a very smooth purée. Season with salt. (You can adjust purée consistency as needed: Thicken by cooking down further while stirring often over low heat in a wide nonstick skillet, or thin by whisking in liquid, such as stock, cream, or water.) Serve warm.
Cream makes the most luxurious purée, while chicken stock adds a rich depth of flavor. You can use either or combine the two to get the best of both worlds. In a pinch, you can also use water or vegetable stock, and use oil instead of butter to easily make this vegan.