All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2018

Sunday, April 27, 2014

creamy broccoli soup in the middle of upheaval

Here is one thing I've learned late in life ;  when life throws a curve ball, go into the kitchen.  Which is why I was making biscotti at midnight Thursday night and this chunky cream of broccoli soup at 10 last night.  I'm sure there were others, but I've forgotten when I made what, and not all came out perfectly.

A week ago my daughter and I were in Boston, on Easter Day, visiting my sister, her aunt, who was recovering from surgery.  We didn't see many bonnets, but the T trolleys were so jammed, the driver had to ask someone to step out so he could close the door.  I stared at feet:  running shoes, espadrille, sneakers, and even a few high heels.  Two men were holding plastic bags full of paper work, water bottle, a glimpse of numbers.  I wished them well the next day in the Boston marathon and did some thinking about a year ago.

On our way home, we stopped at a Panera :  me for soup, sandwich for my daughter.  I realized I hadn't really eaten all day, so that was the BEST soup  - the kind you dream about.  Of course, trying to replicate it was impossible, without that hunger I had on Sunday.  I tried a copycat recipe, but it called for cornstarch.  I followed the directions, cornstarch and all, but it wasn't the same, of course.

So back to my tried and true, made from scratch, creamy soup recipe.  Sometimes I add cream or half and half, and sometimes I just puree a chicken-stock based soup.  Here I added the half and half, then some grated cheese, but used potato for thickener, rather than cornstarch.  I first tried extra sharp white cheddar, then the yellow sharp cheddar, and liked the yellow cheddar better, actually, because it was a little smoother.

And the grandchildren?  Loving their new home in Minnesota!  I miss them a LOT, but what's important is that they're together and happy.

Creamy Broccoli Soup with cheddar

1 medium onion, sliced
1 peeled garlic clove, sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon mild olive oil
1 stalk sliced celery, leaves and all
a baby potato, or 1/2 cup diced red or white potato
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup water
2-3 cups broccoli, stems and tops, sliced in chunky pieces (I used a large crown of broccoli)
1 cup grated cheddar, white or yellow
1 cup half and half cream/milk
2 pinches ground nutmeg, or several scrapings
2 T. minced fresh dill
freshly cracked pepper

Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan, then add the oil garlic, and onion.  Cook on medium heat, stirring, until onion is soft.

Add the potato and chicken stock and water and cook on medium until potato is soft.

Add the broccoli chunks and cook until just soft, then turn down the heat and add the half and half or cream, the nutmeg and dill, and the cheese.  Stir constantly, and do not let it boil at any time.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring, then take off heat.   Let sit a few minutes before using an immersion blender, food processor, or blender.

Serve with an additional sprinkle of cheese on top.

Here comes Spring!


La Table De Nana said...

I watched the news and remembered a yr ago too..
I always..never (oxymoron)..put cornstarch too:-)
There's a little fake taste that juxtaposes itself..
I am happy part of your little family is settling right in..
Like is popping up..but sort of shivering with the rain..and cool temps.
Your soup looks comforting...

katrina said...

Nana - I should've known better than to even think of using cornstarch, but I always follow a new recipe precisely - and then often forge ahead with my own style....
It is still so chilly nights here, but days are slowly warmer - but Spring is later than usual, much later. I hope that means Fall will be longer and warmer:)
Sending thoughts of gardening and flowers......

La Table De Nana said...

I have your hopes.. snow right?
Took the duvet off this AM..tad early me thinks!

katrina said...

NO SNOW, Nana - and the chill at night I can deal with. But then, I still have my puff/comforter on, plus my favorite blue blanket and heavy cotton quilt, so all is cozy. And you, I hope for warmer days and nights and lots of time in the garden!

diary of a tomato said...

Soup soothes many ailments, both in the making and in the eating... Our day lilies look just about the same as yours, except ours are full of ragged tips left by nibbling deer!

katrina said...

Oh, so true, Diary. Funny, I saw very little evidence of deer this winter. I know it was a bad winter for them around here - many found dead from that long exposure to severe cold. Those particular day lilies are from Davis Brook Farm here in Hancock, and they have been big and bold and so healthy from the day we got them. This one is a deep, rich yellow - gorgeous!

Nicole said...

I just discovered a forgotten bunch of broccoli in my vegetable drawer, a little past its prime but perfect for soup! I've always loved cream of broccoli soup but I don't have a go-to recipe so I'm going to try yours tonight if I have enough time to cook. Our day lilies are huge and should be blooming very soon- I'll post a picture to facebook when they do!

kellypea said...

The imagery in this is so vivid, Katrina, and I felt I was standing there next to you, lost in my own thoughts. Lovely soup, comfort of the very best kind. Isn't potato the best little trick?

Marianne said...

I am so happy to see that you are still blogging and sharing your lovely photos and delicious recipes. You have true talent at showcasing your beautiful food.