Tuesday, October 25, 2011
my hot and steamy affair
So the weather has managed to flip-flop back and forth since that lovely day at the park, but it's ok, because in that time I managed to squeeze in some soup making.
I've got a bit of a steamy love affair with soup.
I went through a serious soup-making phase last year around this time.
Potato soup and broccoli soup and beef and vegetable soup, oh my!
It's incredibly comforting.
You can build a great pot of soup with just about anything and it requires little effort. Throw everything into a pot and let it simmer for a little while.
Some soups I let simmer for 2 hours, some for only 30 minutes.
And either way it's a labor of love.
Last week I made some broccoli cheese soup because I happened to have lots of cheese and broccoli handy.
It was warm, comforting, delicious, and it hit the spot.
All of the criteria for one fantastic soup.
Broccoli Cheese Soup
I happened to have sharp cheddar and colby jack cheeses handy so I used both, but feel free to just use cheddar if you'd like. But don't cut out the parmesan. It adds great salty flavor. Also, I use a blender to puree the soup, but keep in mind that hot liquids expand in a blender so if you fill it more than half-way full, you will have one hot mess on your hands. If you'd like, you can use a handheld (immersion) blender. It's a fantastic tool, but I don't like it for this very much because the fibrous broccoli tends to get stuck in the blade.
2 T olive oil
½ c onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large head broccoli, or 2 cups (or so) broccoli florets
1 t smoked paprika
2 c chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian friendly)
1 c sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 c Colby jack cheese, shredded
¼ c parmesan cheese, shredded
1. Heat up a big soup pot to medium heat and add in olive oil. Once hot, add in onions, carrots, and garlic and saute for a couple of minutes until soft and translucent.
2. Add in broccoli, pinches of salt and pepper, and smoked paprika.
3. Add in stock and simmer for about 10-15 minutes or so, until broccoli is fork tender. You want the broccoli to retain that bright green flavor so keep the simmering to a minimum.
4. In about 3 batches, add the soup to a blender and puree just slightly. I like to keep a little texture. Move pureed soup to a separate bowl until all batches are done.
5. Once all the soup is pureed, pour it back into the soup pot and bring the heat down to low.
6. Sprinkle in the cheeses, a handful at a time, while stirring the soup in a figure -8 motion. It's important to melt the cheese into the soup on low because if you boil it to try to melt the cheese faster, it will separate and cause a grainy soup.
7. Once all the cheese is in, double check for seasonings. Serve with crusty bread for dunkin' and enjoy. Preferably with a blanket and a movie.