When you grow a garden it sometimes seems that all the vegetables or fruits become ripe at one time. Anyone who has grown tomatoes or zucchini in the summer is familiar with this predicament. For many of us, this is the time to can, freeze, dry, or in some other way preserve the bounty of our harvest. The winter garden can be just as singularly prolific: broccoli raab one week, kale the next, broccoli after that.
Certainly one can eat the same vegetable night after night for dinner, and believe me, we do. We have had roasted broccoli for dinner at least 4 nights in the past week. However, a little variety is always appreciated, and nothing uses up a windfall of vegetables like soup. Since I like the sweetness that comes to broccoli when it is roasted, I decided to try a roasted broccoli soup, and I was quite happy with the results. Admittedly the color was not quite as fresh and green as a soup made with fresh broccoli, but the subtle sweet flavor made up for the army fatigue hue and a nice crispy yellow cheddar garnish helped to brighten up the color and boost the flavor.
The broccoli can be cut up into very large pieces for this recipe. No need to be very particular about it as it will be blended up into the soup at the end.
For 4 cups of cut up broccoli which should make 4 generous servings you will also need:
¼ of a large or ½ of a small onion cut into rough chunks
2 whole cloves of garlic peeled
1 small or ½ large potato, peeled
2 Tablespoon of California extra virgin olive oil
32 ounces of chicken broth.
For the cheddar crisps have ready 4-6 ounces of low-fat cheddar cheese for the above recipe quantities.
Start by roasting the broccoli, onion and garlic. Pour 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a roasting dish, add the broccoli, the onion and the garlic and mix it around with your hand until it is all coated with the oil. Then bake it in a 400 degree oven, stirring once every 5 minutes, until it is lightly caramelized and browned. This should take about 20 minutes.
While the broccoli is roasting, chop your potatoes in some large rough chunks. No need to be too particular about it as they will also be blended up into the soup.
Once the broccoli is cooked add it to the pot along with the potato pieces and the chicken broth.
Now bring the whole mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and simmer until the vegetables are very soft.
While the soup is cooking, make the cheddar crisp garnish. Following this link to my recipe and directions for the cheddar crisps. After they are made and cooled break them into rough pieces to use as the garnish.
Once the soup is cooked thoroughly, which should take about 20 minutes or more, it will need to be pureed. I did this with my new Vita-Mix Blender which was a Christmas gift from my son and my husband.
Roasted broccoli soup in my new Vita-Mix blender
Wow, did it make the soup smooth and creamy! I started the blender on a low speed, then gradually ramped up to the higher speed and it sounded like an airplane taking off!
If you use a regular blender jar, make sure to cool the soup a bit before blending it and leave an opening in the top for the air to get out or it will explode on you! Another good way to puree soup is to use and immersion blender. You just place it in the pot and puree the soup right there.
After you puree the soup you will need to heat it back up before you serve it. You should also add salt and pepper to taste at this point. If you like a creamier soup you can add milk, or half and half or cream. However, I tried that and found that I preferred this more full flavored version without any dilutions.
Serve the soup piping hot in a bowl with the cheddar crisps crumbled over the top right before serving.