Day 1 – January 1, 2013 – Cream of Broccoli Soup

broc-soup-finishedI wake up thinking about food.  Because today is a holiday and the family is home my schedule is different than most days.  Usually I get up, make some coffee and sit for a few minutes enjoying the newspapers and a couple cups of coffee.

As a website designer and marketing consultant, I work from home. With my wife at work and kids at school I take advantage of the quiet house to get some work done.  Usually by about 11am or noon I am ready for a break in the action and take my “lunch break” by going to the supermarket, bank, and running my “out errands.”  That get’s me back home with at least a couple of hours to work before the kids get home and I lose my nice quiet office.

By 9am I have usually had a few texts wife my wife Lisa about what she might like for dinner.  Often she is “distracted by her work and can’t focus on food” or doesn’t have any great ideas.  In the “Iron Chef” tradition I often ask her for the “mystery ingredient” she would like in the meal or ask her to decide on anything she doesn’t want.

I tried to think today about which meal I wanted to be “first” in my attempt to blog dinner for an entire year, but quickly realized this isn’t about “showing off” just about “blogging what we’re eating.”

Today is a chilly day with a beautiful blanket of snow on the ground.  The family is home and transitioning from Christmas back to our real life.  I thought soup would be a good meal for tonight and I love the smell wafting through the house during the day.  PLUS, I got an immersion blender for Christmas and I am anxious to put it to use.

I am going to start with this recipie: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/broccoli-and-cheese-soup-with-croutons-recipe/index.html

A few major differences between what I plan to do versus the Emeril recipe. He suggest nutmeg and I am a little sick of nutmeg in savory dishes so I am opting for a spice combination of garlic,thyme,celery leaf, and Spanish smoked paprika.

I will make the crutons in the Emeril recipie with french bread and Emerils spices.  I use his recipe almost exactly and it makes amazing croutons.  Serve with fresh bread from the Price Chopper Bakery and you have a warm meal that fills your home with wonderful smells as it cooks and your bellies with a warm yummy meal for a cool winter day!

Off to the market to get what I need….

Getting it started:

1. I start my “cream soups” off with a nice little chicken stock rue:

  • 4 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1.5 teaspoons Celtic Sea Salt or Kosher Sea Salt
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

I simmer these ingredients for 10 minutes or so on really low heat to let the onions get translucent and the flavors marry.  When it is done, I add:

  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon celery leaf

I let these simmer together for a bit so they smell nice and seem well blended.

To complete the rue, add:

1/4 cup flour and stir until clumpy and well mixed

then add:

3.5 cups salt-free chicken stock – I usually make my own…okay about 50% of the time… I have found Basic Foods has great super low salt stock and Price Chopper carries Swanson Unsalted Cooking Stock for about $3.50 for 26oz which is what you need for this recipie.  I am not salt-free but I prefer to use my good salts to the MSG added by most manufacturers.  The Swanson’s unsalted Chicken stock has 130 mg of sodium per serving compared with 700mg-900mg in most commercial chicken stocks.

Boil this mixture and bring back down to a simmer.  Stir fairly often and let it thicken some.  It might not thicken like a traditional flour and milk rue but you will notice it will get thicker in 10 minutes or so.

Add:

  • 2 of the three crowns ( or 2/3rds) of the broccoli, chopped getting mostly the flourets.  Cook this for about 10 minutes.

broc soup 1 boc-soup2

Puree! HURRAY!!! I get to use my new immersion blender!! If you don’t have one then use a food processor to puree this whole deal.

Add:

  • 1.5 cups Greek Yogurt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino/ramano/parmesan cheese or other strong hard cheese.
  • 1.5 teaspoons garlic powder (I think this helps “mask” that I use yougurt and not cream or sour cream called for in most recipies
  • optionally add: 1/2 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika or cayenne powder. I used Spanish Smoked Hot Paprika for this adventure.

simmer for about 60 minutes, stirring often.  Many recipies call for very little simmer time.  I like to let things like soup and chili simmer several times for a while to really let the flavors marry together.  Many times soups and chilis tasted better the second day so I decided to try letting things simmer longer and in most cases it now tastes as good on the first serving!

add cheese:

I add different cheeses dirfferent times I make soups like this one.  The stronger and harder the cheese the better.  French Gruyere Cheese is good, more parmesan, pecorino, romano if you like.  And some cheddar. Use what you like.  For tonight I am going to use:

  • 1.5 cups grated sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 cup Fontinella, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Swiss

Simmer for at least thirty minutes so cheese is fully incorporated.  Add more cheese, cream, or spices to taste.

broc-soup4

Add the last florets of broccoli about 15 minutes before serving.  It will be cooked but someone crisp and not soggy.

I’ll let you know what the family thinks… (added after dinner) They loved it!! (Phew. It would have been a wicked bummer if the first meal was bad!)

Cook On!

Comments

  1. Sounds really yummy. I could smell it as you described it! Nice start to your blog!

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  1. […] is a variation of the Cream of Broccoli Soup I made on New Year’s Day. Lisa isn’t feeling well and stayed home sick.  I thought […]

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