Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Creamy Broccoli Soup with a Kick

During September, I'll be participating in the Healthy Eats' Brown-Bag Challenge for Bloggers. My goal is to take my lunch to work every day during the month in the hope of eating healthier. Given that I only eat lunch at my desk two or three times a week, it shouldn't be all that difficult. Then again, I've got the Boone Bagelry on speed dial, they know my order by heart, and the delivery guy can find my office with his eyes closed.

Yesterday I took leftovers -- smoked chicken, sausage and pulled pork jambalaya made with brown rice along with some baby carrots and a creamy garlic herb dressing I'd thrown together for our salad. Today, I worked from home, but there wasn't much in the way of leftovers in the fridge, and none of the available sandwich options appealed to me. The mountain of broccoli left over from the dinner I catered Saturday night suggested I do something with it. Since today is a cool, rainy day here that feels more like Fall than late Summer, the obvious answer was Creamy Broccoli Soup with a Kick of cayenne.

Creamy Broccoli Soup
with a Kick

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrot
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup peeled and cubed potato
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • dash of Cholula or other hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, plus extra for garnish
  • 4 cups broccoli florets, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery. Saute 3-5 minutes or so until the vegetables begin to soften.
  2. Add the garlic and saute another 2 minutes before adding the potato, chicken broth, Cholula and thyme.
  3. Bring the soup to a gentle boil, then turn down the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer about 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.
  4. Add the broccoli, salt, pepper and cayenne and cook 3-5 minutes until the broccoli is tender but not mushy.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat and puree the soup to your desired consistency using an immersion blender or transferring the soup in batches to a traditional blender. If using a traditional blender, be sure to let the soup cool some and puree in small batches.
  6. Return the pot of soup to low heat and add the grated cheese, stirring until the cheese melts and is incorporated into the soup. Then stir in the half & half. Taste, adjust seasonings, remove from the heat. Ladle into bowls, garnish with thyme and serve immediately.
Yield: 2 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

I intentionally made a small batch. There is something about leftover broccoli soup -- however delicious the first time -- that just doesn't work for me. I used full-strength butter and cheese, but fat-free half & half which worked fine. Subbing olive oil for the butter would be okay, but I would not try to use low-fat cheese. It just doesn't melt right. If you don't like much heat, leave out the cayenne or add it very sparingly, tasting as you go, since the flavor is a big contrast to the milder flavors of the soup. And finally, I like my soup pretty much completely pureed, but feel free to leave yours somewhat chunky. It will be good either way!

This post is linked up over at 33 Shades of Green's Tasty Tuesdays blog hop, the Lady Behind the Curtain's Cast Party Wednesday and These Chicks Cooked.


Ann said...

This looks delicious! I found you from the Wednesday Linkup from This chick cooks! Good luck with the lunch time challenge!

Lynn said...

Thanks! My husband thought it was a real treat to have delicious, fresh, homemade soup for lunch. It goes together very quickly.

bookcasefoodie said...

Soup for lunch is perfect for me, especially as the weather gets cooler. I could have it everyday. This is one to try as soon as it is a little cooler.

If you do make the potato cakes, please let me know. They are really good, if I say so, myself.

Lynn said...

As the weather cools off and we move into "comfort food season" I make mashed potatoes about once a week. Your little cakes would make a dandy lunch out of the leftovers!