Cauliflower, swede, Parmesan & nutmeg soup with cured pig cheek and sprouts

An elegantly simple soup and “garnish” – the over-wordy title says it all!

dscn9895For the soup: boil a roughly cut cauliflower and a peeled and chopped swede in enough chicken stock to cover. (Needless to say, the better the stock the better the flavour – however, I used a Massel stock cube and it still tasted pretty good!) Season, grate in about a tsp or so of nutmeg (really, don’t use the pre-ground stuff).

For the topping:┬áTrim and halve or quarter (depending upon size) about 400g of brussels sprouts. Cut about a third of a cured pig cheek (or similar cured pork product – speck would be ideal) into rustic chunks. Fry the pork in butter and a little olive oil in a very hot skillet until beginning to brown, then toss the brussels sprouts through the resulting tasty juices, and deglaze with about a centimetre of water (you’ll probably want to give the pan a good scrape at this stage as pork is like glue in a non-stick fry-pan.) Cover, with a gap for the steam to escape, and steam until the water all evaporates. If the sprouts aren’t cooked, add a touch more water and repeat. Cook on for a little while longer past evaporation to bring the fried qualities back to the pork.

To serve: ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with some parmesan, then top with the sprouts and pork. Season again to taste.