Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Inspired by Ruth Reichl and her Mushroom Soup from Comfort Me With Apples, I decided to fight my Fall blues away by creating my own quick-soup tradition.
Broccoli seemed best. Healhful and with a strange odor that is at once delicious and repugnant--but always earthy, and it reminded me of that wet-dirt and fallen-leaves smell that accompanies the season.
It's always a struggle to make something simple, so I tried to use simplicity to drive this dish. You can do without the thyme, the cream, and garlic. But then again--what fun is that? I have discovered that a little bit of nutmeg, really makes this soup, so don't skip out on that ingredient.
You will need some sort of blender/food processor/hand blender.
This makes 4 very satisfying portions, or 6 smaller ones. Very easy to make after work or on a cold weekend afternoon.
1 lb of Broccoli Florets, cut evenly
4 cups of Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
1 can of Cannellini Beans (14-15 oz is great)
1 Onion, minced
1 Large Clove of Garlic, minced (optional)
1/4 cup or 4 oz. of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup or 4 tblsp of Salted Butter
1/4 cup or 4 tblsp of Heavy Cream (optional)
Sea Salt
White Pepper (this makes a difference)
1 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Dried Thyme or 1 tblsp Fresh Thyme (or more if you like)
1/4 tsp Dried Nutmeg
  • Do the Prep work to make life easier: mince Onion, set aside. mince Garlic, set aside. Cut Broccoli florets, set aside.
  • In your large pot or dutch oven, heat to medium-low. Add 1/4 cup of Butter and allow to melt and begin to bubble. BE CAREFUL NOT TO BURN, butter needs to be on medium/low-medium to retain it's richness and not burn and brown. Once bubbling, add minced Onions, stir to coat and allow to sweat for about 3-4 minutes. Add minced Garlic, allow to continue cooking for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the 4 cups of Chicken Broth, Thyme, and Bay Leaf. Bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, add the pound of Broccoli florets, wait until it boils, reduce to simmering and cover. Allow to cook for 10 minutes.
  • Add can of Cannellini Beans that have been drained and rinsed. Boil covered for another 2 to 5 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat. Set up your food processor/blender to begin blending your soup in small batches--you never want to blend HOT liquids more than half full in any contraption--hot liquids expand when they cook--so please be careful.
  • In small batches (I believe it took me about 5), add soup to blender and also add a palm-ful of the Cheddar Cheese. Blend until even. Keep repeating until all liquid has been blended.
  • Return to pot and keep over low-medium heat. Taste test. Add Salt & White Pepper to taste. Add Nutmeg & 1/4 cup of Cream as well (if so desired). Bring to a low boil for 1 minute to incorporate all.
  • Serve warm with bread.

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