Warm, potatoey, broccoli goodness!
People always tend to think that soups are an impossible thing–if not trying–thing to make. I too was one of these peoples. But soups are like riding a bike, if you will; once you learn the basics, you’re good for a lifetime. Whether you’re making a broth-based soup like Chicken Noodle, to a creamy Winter soup; there are a few key ingredients that work best: Chicken Broth or Bouillon cubes and water, 2-3 main ingredients (usually what you’d name your soup after) and milk or cream if making a creamy soup.
Not all “Creamy soups” have to be made with lots cream either; ie. butternut squash soups can be made by simply puree’ing the squash/ingredients to give it a creamy look/texture.
I know I started this blog as an easier, healthier way to cooking–and not that this soup is missing healthy things like Potatoes (As long as you’re not a believer in Atkins) or Broccoli– but that would be like saying potato chips are healthy because they’re made from potatoes, or deep-fried Zucchini is because it’s still a veggy.
I’m not going to lie; this soup contains (low-fat) Sour Cream, (a Tbsp) Butter, (low-fat) milk and lots of CHEESE–well, maybe not lots, but not a healthy serving… Despite all this, it’s an excellent winter soup, desperately trying to keep folks like us warm in cold weather. Plus, soups freeze REALLY well, so if you have any left-overs, that for some weird reason you dont want to eat later, just stick it in a ziplock bag (carefully) or a container and pop it in the freezer (after it’s cooled down first).
The do all, be all aka. hand blender
The best thing to have in a kitchen is a hand-held blender (below right). Alot of people have these in their Kitchens and don’t realize their full potential! This little baby will do anything from cream potatoes to make a single-serving smoothy.
Ok, lets get cooking shall we. Know that this recipe is very versatile: you can add what you want, take out what you need or make less/more creamy than you want.
Ingredients (* mostly an approximations):Serves 4-5+
- 4 potatoes- peeled and chopped into cubes (save 1 spud, un-chopped for later if you want it a bit chunkier)
- * 1/2 Cup Sour Cream (use whatever fat content you’d like)
- * 1 Cup milk (use whatever fat content –you can use whipping cream if you’d like…a heart attack)
- * 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
- * 1 Tbsp Butter
- * 1 Cup grated cheese- flavor is up to you (I used a pre-shredded southwest blend)
- *1/4+ Cup of grated Parmesan (The “real” grated stuff, ie. not the Kraft powdered stuff, is what I’m talking about)
- 1 Chicken Bouillon cube dissolved in 2 Cups water -OR- 2 Cups Chicken stock (-OR- 1 Cup Stock and 1 Cup water)
- *Fairly good sized head of Broccoli-cut into peices ++KEEP the stalk of the broccoli: you’re just going to blend it up and it has a ton of nutrients in it. Not to mention: necessary flavor.
- *1/4 Onion, sliced/chopped
- 4 Cloves of garlic cut as small as possible, but don’t worry too much cuz you’re just going to be puree’ing anyways.
- * 1 1/2 Tsp Basil
- Pinch of Oregano
- Pinch of Tyme
- Flour: to thicken
You will need:
- A 4 quart pot (or bigger if you wanna play it safe)
- A hand Mixer or a blender –blenders are a little harder to work with because you have to transfer the soup from the pot to the blender, where as, with the hand mixer you stick it straight into the pot.
- Strainer (optional, but a lot easier)
- Knife, cutting board etc.
- In the pot that you’ll be using for the soup: add 3 of the potatoes *that you’ve already peeled and chopped* AND add enough water to cover them (or add all potatoes if you want a less chunky soup).
- Put pot-full onto the stove on a high setting–or low if you want it to take forever. Bring to a boil.
- During this time of waiting, you can start cutting up your broccoli and onion and set it to the side.
- Check your potatoes every once and awhile with a fork. If the Potato bit stabs easily and comes off easily (and you think it’s mash’able) remove from the heat–Aprox. 15 min.
- Strain the potatoes and toss them back into the pot (which is off the heat)
- ADD: Butter, oil, milk and sour cream
- Mash all this goodness together either by hand or with your handy-dandy hand mixer/blender. +This doesn’t have to be mashed like christmas dinner potatoes because you’re going to puree it later with the broccoli and onion.
- While you’re mashing, add the Cheeses
- Mix In: your option of chicken stock (it’s a “Stock option”–get it? hehe), herbs/spices, S&P
- Put the pot back on the warm stove and lower the heat to a Med/ Med-Low
- At this point you should have something resembling a watery soup. ADD the broccoli and onion (to make this more confusing: I took the chopped broccoli stalk and 1/2 my chopped onion, steamed it in the microwave and pureed it– I think you can skip this tho…)
- Let sit for awhile, bring to a boil –on a low heat still– Until broccoli is a bit softer. Stir occasionally to give yourself something to do.
Broccoli and Onion added--bringing to a boil
Broccoli, Onion and Garlic Oh My
- Once you think the Broccoli is soft’ish, Blend/puree to your standards, either with the hand blender or pour into your blender and mix. (If you used the blender, pour back into the pot after it’s blended). KEEP in mind: you should still have 1 potato left (un-chopped–not the end of the world if it is chopped) if you want a bit of a “chewier” soup, aka. a soup with bits in it.
- After about 15 MORE minutes, my soup wasn’t thick enough for my liking, so I sprinkled some All-Purpose flour over the top (no more than 1 Tbsp), mixed that in and let the soup simmer for a bit to see what it did. It thickened, but I had to sprinkle a bit more in. So use your judgement: if the soup is looking like watery milk, maybe add some flour–unless you like hot, watery milk.
- At the last minute (aka. when my Husband’s steak was 1/2 done), I chopped up the last potato into very small pieces and added it until they softened. (I did blend it again, but you don’t really have to).
- Serve in a bowl, or mug, or really anything but a plate, with a sprinkle of Parmesan on top for decoration.
Fewf, I think that about covers everything; I don’t think I left anything out.
This shouldn’t take you more than 45 min-1 hr (maybe even less) to make, but you can keep it warm on the stove as long as you need really (try to only keep it until clean-up time tho). Serve with a whole-grain, italian Foccacia (Recipe coming) and a sprinkle of love and it’s complete. Use as a starter or main course.
If you have any left-over, let it cool before putting it in the fridge or freezer. This is for ‘sanitary’ reasons unexplained to me.
I apologize in advance: you will probably have to let this pot soak for awhile.