21 December 2009
Heating Up the Kitchen
Our little grey farmhouse on the side of the hill is chilly today; a stiff wind coming up the rise will do that to the place. The nor'easter that blew through New England this past weekend is blasting back at us from the north. It has frozen up the snow banks and made it bitterly cold outside.
Silent Bob and I have been manning the kitchen fireplace and the woodstove nonstop since we rolled out of bed this morning. We're thanking the Lord above for all that wood that was salvaged and cut from last winter's ice storm damage. All those poor broken maples have given us stacks of cord wood that we are happy to use up! That's the New England way... don't waste a thing if you can help it!
Cozy as it is in this old kitchen, I am still inspired to make a soup to warm our insides as well as the fire warms us outside. Since the fridge needs to be emptied before the holiday supplies are brought in, I'm thinking of using up some veggies and cheese. Cream of Broccoli Soup sounds like just the ticket. Besides, a soup pot on the stove will generate a little more heat and today is all about keeping warm! If your kitchen is chilly right now or sometime soon, feel free to use the following recipe as a base to begin your own 'fridge purge'. Waste not, want not, right? Besides, you can't go wrong with a warm pot of soup!
Cream of Broccoli Soup - printer friendly
Cream of Broccoli Soup
6 Tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 small carrots, small dice
1 large head broccoli, cut into small florets and stem chopped small
4 c. chicken broth
1 c. light cream or half & half
generous pinch cayenne pepper
scant 1/2 tsp. ground celery seed
black pepper, to taste
generous handful of cheese, cut into small cubes
In a large soup pot, saute onions, garlic, carrots, butter until the onions glisten and the carrots are softened.
Set aside 2 c. of the broccoli florets. Add the rest of the broccoli florets and stems to the veggies and season with pepper. Saute another minute or so and then pour in the chicken broth. I use Knorr chicken broth cubes to make a quick broth, but feel free to use homemade broth, if you've got it on hand.
Cover and simmer the soup until the broccoli is softened. Then, using a handblender or food processor, puree the soup. Stir in the half & half, cayenne, ground celery seed and heat gently.
Add the cheese cubes and stir until the cheese is melted. I use leftover Velveeta, Fontina, or a cheddar/Monterey Jack blend. I find a straight cheddar makes a grainy consistency, so a creamy cheese is best. Be creative!
Warm gently so that the soup does not curdle... when there's steam coming off the soup, add the reserved broccoli florets and stir them down into the soup, cover the pot, turn OFF the heat and let the residual heat cook the florets.
I've had this soup with croutons floating in it, with crusty bread for dipping, and with crackers. Tonight, we've got bread... what's in your cupboard that needs using?