Monday, January 4, 2010

Broccoli and white cheddar soup

Happy New Year, everybody!  I hope you all had pleasant celebrations and are starting 2010 off right.  I started this year much better than I ended the last one, but we'll get to that later.  For now, let's have a bowl of the best broccoli and white cheddar soup you've ever made.

This is my own take on a recipe I found at the grocery store.  It cooks up very easily and is perfect midday eating on a chilly day, especially when paired with a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.  Here is the list of ingredients.  Metric equivalents are given in parentheses.

New Year's Broccoli and Cheddar Soup
1 tablespoon (15ml) olive oil
1 tablespoon (15ml) butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large head (600g) of broccoli
3 cups (750ml) vegetable stock
1 medium potato, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup (100g) creme fraiche or sour cream, whichever is available, plus a bit more for serving
1 cup (150g) mature white cheddar, grated

Ready to cook?  Here we go...

Chop, chop!

First things first, cut up all your veg so you can have it ready as soon as you need it.  Next, prepare the broth.  If you're using pre-made broth, all you have to do is open up the can or box.  But if you're using bouillon cubes, boil up your water and mash in 1.5 Knorr cubes (or amount as designated on package) until it's all dissolved.  Whatever you're using, have it ready to go so when the time comes, you can just pour it in to the pot.

The beginning of a fabulous soup

For this soup (and all stick-blended soups, if you ask me), you should use a large, deep stock pot - the bigger, the better.  Your soup itself won't need that much room, but there's a lot of splashing and flinging of soupy bits when you begin to mix it up with the stick blender.  This is when the high, protective walls of a big stock pot come in very handy.

Back to the ingredients.  Heat up the big pot (low to medium) and add the oil and butter.  When the butter is melted, throw in your onions and let them sizzle for about five minutes until they look nice and soft. 

A big pile o' veg

Once the onions have achieved niceness and softness, add the broccoli, potato and pour the stock over everything.  Leaving the heat at the same level, put a lid on the pot and let it all simmer for about 15 minutes.  By this time, the broccoli should be quite tender.  If you can easily stab into the stalk with a fork, it's tender enough.  If not, give it five more minutes and another stabbing.

And now for the really fun part: turn the burner off, dip your stick blender into that stock pot and whizzzzzz your mixture until all the big bits have succumbed to the green soupiness.  It should be an even consistency when you're finished blending.  Yes, it looks great, but you're not done yet!  Turn the burner back on to medium low, add the sour cream (or creme fraiche) and bring the soup to a simmer.  When that happens, remove your pot from the heat, stir in the cheese and add a bit of extra sour cream or creme fraiche when serving.  Voila!


This recipe makes about six hearty bowls of soup.  I often double it up just so we can have seconds the next day.  It reheats very well.  I should also mention that it tastes really good with low-fat cheese and sour cream, if you've made THAT kind of New Year's resolution.

Now, back to why my 2009 didn't go as well as it could have.  In short, it's because I spent too much of the year being a homesick killjoy and I often lacked patience with myself in this still-active process of settling into my new home and my new life as a wife and stepmother.  My resolution for 2010 may sound completely trite to you, but I'm doing it anyway and it's going to be great; I'm keeping a diary of happy thoughts.  I decided to do this because my stepsons gave me a very sweet week-at-a-glance journal for 2010 with a picture of a kitten on the cover.  Since I had already purchased a boring maroon day planner for my deadlines and dental appointments, I've decided to put the kitten journal to good use by using it to remind me of the happy and uplifting things in life, of which there are SO MANY.  So I'll be writing in that every day without fail (4 days strong now!) and maybe I'll share the occasional entry here.

All the best to you.  I'll be back for an update when I'm able.


stepmumoftheyear said...

That soup looks sensational!

By the way, there is lots of research establishing that keeping a "Three Good Things" or gratitude-type journal each day makes people rate themselves as substantially happier in their lives.

So good choice. I've started on for the New Year as well. Let's get happy!

Suddenly Stepmom said...

Thanks! It's a wonderful soup - one I make over and over again.

And yes...I'd like a double serving of happiness for 2010, please.

MaggieWags said...

This looks delicious.