Sunday, March 27, 2011

the goose loves broccoli and cheese

So here's a post, in the vein of catching up, that complements my earlier "St Paddy's Party" post! To boost the color and health-full-ness of our St. Patrick's Day feast, I decided to make broccoli cheese soup from a recipe I found in Cooks Illustrated. The test kitchen loved the combo between broccoli and cheddar, but found that too many soups mask any broccoli flavor (and health benefits) with too much cheese, and that the color never quite screams "broccoli." So they went about perfecting a new recipe for a delicious soup, and they did a great job! Seems like a lot of ingredients, but overall not difficult to make. Just a little time consuming. But I had all day, so no problem! I started by roughly chopping 3 "heads" of broccoli - florets, stems, and all. I put them in my Le Creuset with a little water and salt, and let them simmer down.

I then added chicken broth, allowing it to simmer a bit longer.

Now here's the secret ingredient - to boost color, flavor, and health-factor, you add about two cups of fresh spinach, and allow it to wilt for a minute or two in the hot broth-broccoli mix.

Then comes the good part - cheese! I measured out cheddar and parmesan -about 5 oz combined.

To make the right consistency, you blend the soup, in batches, in your blender or cuisinart. I added a handful of cheese to each batch of soup in the cuisinart, blending until smooth.

I ended up making the soup earlier in the day, since I knew I'd be busy with several other things later, so once blended, I just put the soup in a big mixing bowl and covered it for later. Then, about 20 minutes before serving, I poured the soup back into a pot and reheated - easy!

Here it is, ready to be devoured! The recipe made just enough for a relatively hearty "first course" for 6 hungry people... and it really was delish! Served with just a pinch of parmesan on top!

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