Saturday, March 5, 2011

Menu for 03/04/2011 - Broccoli Soup with Sourdough Garlic Croutons

Tonight I needed a meal that was quick and easy because I had to work late.  I have also been feeling like we have not been eating enough vegetables lately.  Broccoli soup seemed to meet the criteria very well.  I've adapted a soup by Jules over at Stonesoup.  What intrigued me about her post, was her method of making a flavorful soup when  you don't have stock.  Now, I did happen to have homemade chicken stock, but I wanted to try out her method to see how it compared.  To make this magic work, I caramelized onions, and added soy sauce and a touch of lemon juice.  Also, to sell this soup to my wife and child I knew I was going to have to add something extra  yummy to top it off.  I chose homemade sourdough garlic and parmesan croutons.

Broccoli Soup with Sourdough Garlic Croutons

Serves 4

for the croutons
  • 1/8 C pastured butter 
  • 1/8 C unfiltered extra olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 3 C sourdough bread cut into small cubes
  • fresh grated parmesan to cover
for the soup
  • 3 Tbl pastured butter
  • 2 - 3 heads of broccoli depending on the size of the crowns
  • 1 white onion sliced into thin rings (I used red because that's all I had)
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 C filtered water
  • 1 Tbl soy sauce
  • 1-2 Tbl fresh lemon juice
  • rind of a parmesan wedge
  • 3 Tbl pastured butter
  • 2 Tbl arrowroot powder
  • 1 C raw heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • paprika for garnish
  • fresh grated parmesan for garnish
Begin by melting the butter for the soup in a large sauce pan.  Add the onions and cook them for at least 20 minutes constantly stirring and flipping so the onion does not burn.  While the onions are caramelizing I make my croutons.

Preheat an oven (a small toaster oven if you have it) to 400 degrees.  In a small sauce pan melt the butter for the croutons.  Add the olive oil and the garlic and cook until the garlic is light brown.  Now at this point, I tried melting some parmesan in the butter and oil mixture.  This is not the way to do it!  Parmesan is actually hard to melt smoothly and it will just make cheese globs and will be hard to cover your croutons evenly.  Place your cubed sourdough bread in a bowl and pour the butter, oil, and garlic mixture over the bread.  Now, finely grate the parmesan into the bowl.  Mix well in the bowl until all the bread cubes are evenly coated.  Spread the croutons out flat on a baking sheet and place in the oven.  These will cook for about 25 - 30 minutes.  Basically when they are crunchy, but not burned, they are done.

Set the croutons aside and let cool while you finish the soup. Add the garlic and cook for 5 minutes.

After the onions are nice and caramelized and the garlic is cooked, stir in your chopped broccoli.  Saute the broccoli for a few minutes making sure you don't burn them. 

Add the water, soy sauce, and parmesan rind.  I cut my rind into small cubes before adding to help it melt better.  Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cook until the broccoli is nice and soft.

After the broccoli is done, pour everything into a blender.  Be careful and don't burn yourself!  Blend until very smooth. 

With the broccoli mixture in the blender, add the additional 3 Tbl of butter and arrowroot into the pot. Fry the arrowroot in the butter for a minute or two, constantly stirring.   Then add the heavy cream continuing to stir frequently.  After a minute or so, the cream will turn super thick.  This will serve as a cream base that will thicken the soup significantly.  I did not do this, but you can also add another cup of shredded cheese to make it even thicker and cheesier. 

Pour the broccoli mixture back into the pot.  Now add the lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Cook for another 5 minutes or so on low heat.   

Garnish your soup with some extra shredded parmesan, a pinch of paprika and the fresh baked croutons. 

I really enjoyed this soup! It was nice light meal that I feel is very healthy.  I thought the flavors were excellent, but I will need to make this with stock next time to really see if I can tell a difference.  I've made broccoli soup in the past before my family was eating real food.  Those soups required like a pound of velveeta cheese!  So yes, this soup is not near as creamy as that.  For my wife to like this new soup as well as me I'll have to figure out a way to make it as creamy as the velveeta edition.  I can try using cheddar next time.  Any other suggestions?

Update: Dude 2 has explained to me awesome technique for making a super thick and creamy roux.  He even used super fancy words like cream bechamel and mornay so I think he knows what he's doing with this : )  I believe he will post a recipe for this sometime soon.


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