Odds and ends • 06.06.09
Oh, I am just so excited to tell you about this soup. I know, I know… you’re probably sighing to yourself. You’re saying, “But it’s hot outside and I don’t want to hear about soups and oh my GOD woman, could you lay off the soups for a while?” Wow… you’re very worked up about this. I think you might need a bowl of soup to calm you down.
Last week I was making a fairly boring dinner (baked chicken, roasted potatoes, steamed broccoli), and I had all these bits left over. I looked at my counters, still covered with chopped up broccoli stalks and a few less-than-perky potatoes and I thought, “I bet I can make soup out of that.”
I must admit that I do not have thoughts like that often. I usually find a recipe that looks good, buy all the ingredients required, make the dish and throw away the bits that aren’t needed. This sudden impulse to make soup from scraps was very unlike me. But, sometimes you have to break your own patterns, if you know what I mean.
So, make a soup I did… broccoli stalk and blue cheese soup, to be exact. It was satisfying on multiple levels. Not only had I created something full of flavour and good to eat, but I had also created it from scraps, for free. I think that made it taste even better. I don’t mind telling you that I felt a bit smug as I sat down to eat my lunch the next day. I looked out the window at all the people passing by, people who had to pay for their lunch, and I slurped my free and fresh soup with a feeling of pride.
Ok, ok… now I’m done telling you about the soup. I’ll move on to more seasonal, summery food in the next few weeks. But admit it first… you’re a little impressed with my soup from scraps, aren’t you? I thought so.
Broccoli stalk and blue cheese soup
I am going to tell you what I did here, but please adapt this to whatever scraps you happen to have lying around.
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
stalks from 1 large bunch of broccoli, chopped
2 small potatoes, chopped
1 chicken stock cube
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs blue cheese (sharp cheddar would also be excellent, I just happened to have blue cheese in the fridge)
sour cream and watercress, to serve
Add the butter and olive oil to a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the onion. Gently fry the onion for about 2-3 mins, then add the garlic. Fry for another 2 minutes.
Add the broccoli stalks and potatoes to the pan. Stir until coated with the butter and onions. Then add the chicken stock cube and enough water to cover the vegetables. Put the top on the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow to simmer until the vegetables are very tender.
If you have an immersion blender, remove the soup from the pan, pour into a large bowl and blend until smooth. If not, pour the soup into a blender and allow to cool before blending.
Pour the soup back into the pan. Taste and adjust seasoning. Just before serving, crumble the blue cheese into the soup and allow to melt. Top with sour cream and watercress and enjoy!