Last week I bought a big ol’ honkin bag of broccoli for $4.00 from the discount bin. I’ve never done that before. I don’t know why because there are some great deals in there and a lot of the produce is perfect for making soup, so that’s just what I did.
One of my favorite things about making soup is how versatile and easy it is to make. It’s right up there with a frittata…almost anything goes! Just use what you have on hand. If a soup recipe calls for heavy cream, you can substitute milk or half & half. If it calls for vegetable stock, you can almost always substitute chicken stock or even beef stock. So even though I’m going to give you a recipe, take it with a grain of salt (no pun intended). In fact, this isn’t exactly the recipe I used because I had about five pounds of broccoli, but I’ve adjusted the amounts for ‘normal’ size ingredients so your results will be the same.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups fat free or regular half & half
- 4 cups chopped broccoli (I use almost the entire stalk except for the very tough ends)
- 1 cup shredded carrots (get the bag that's already shredded...much easier)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg (optional)
- 1 bay leaf (optional)
- 2 1/2 cup sharp cheddar
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Let's Get Cookin'!
- In a pot on medium-high heat, add your butter. When melted, add you chopped onions. When the onions have softened a bit, add your garlic, stirring for a couple of minutes. Add your carrots, broccoli and bay leaf, and again, stirring for a minute or two. Add your stock and bring to a low boil, then immediately lower your heat and simmer on medium, covered, for about 20 minutes.
- In a separate small saucepan, make your roux. Melt 3 tablespoons butter on medium heat, whisking constantly, then slowly add 3 tablespoons of flour, continuing to whisk. If you prefer your soup thick, add more roux (another tablespoon of each should do the trick).
- Pour the roux in the soup mix and slowly stir in your half & half and leave your pot uncovered and on low heat. Take out the bay leaf and season with the above spices, and add salt to taste.
- Optional: Using an immersion blender, liquefy the soup, or alternately place soup in batches in a food processor.
- Last but not least! Stir in the grated cheese and remove from heat immediately. Serve garnished with extra cheese and/or parsley.
- When chopping your broccoli, consider how you like your soup. Chunky? Then make your broccoli pieces larger and skip the immersion blender.
- This soup can be frozen, and believe me, that's exactly what I did because I ended up with enough to feed a small army. The best $4.00 I ever spent!
So tell me, do you grab some produce from the bargain bins ever? What do you use it for? There’s usually a large quantity which can sometimes turn people off, so I’d love to hear some tips from you all.