Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Broccoli and cheese soup

I figured it was only fair to share with you the first recipe I cooked in my Baby Blue. My brother and sister-in-law made a big pot of this for Chad and I - and it was delicious. So I made a second big batch this weekend.

The croutons are a must btw. Don't get lazy on me!

Ingredients
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

* 1 cup yellow onions or sliced leeks (white parts only, well rinsed) --- I used a combo of the two... any maybe added a bit more leeks. I heart leeks.

*1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper --- or black pepper if your husband hates you and tells you that you don't really need white pepper. but yes, there is a difference.

* Pinch nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

* 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

* 3 cups chicken stock or canned, low-sodium chicken broth

* 1 (16-ounce) package frozen broccoli, thawed and separated

* 1/2 cup heavy cream

* 1 1/4 cups shredded medium cheddar
*** Croutons, for garnish, recipe follows

Directions

In a medium pot, melt the 3 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme cook, stirring, until fragrant, for 20 seconds. Add the flour and cook, stirring until the mixture is well blended and smells fragrant, 2 minutes. Slowly add the chicken stock, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook, stirring, until tender, for 10 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and puree with a hand-held immersion blender. (Alternatively, in batches, puree in a blender or food processor and return to the pot.)

Add the cream and bring to bare simmer to heat through. Add the cheese and cook over low heat, stirring, until melted. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons cold butter, stirring to blend.

Remove from the heat and ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle croutons over the top of the soup and serve immediately.

Croutons:
* 1 cup 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubed French bread

*2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

* 1/4 teaspoon Essence or Creole seasoning, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the bread in a medium bowl and toss with oil and Essence. Spread evenly on a small baking sheet and bake, stirring twice, until light golden brown on top, about 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving.

Emeril's Essence Creole Seasoning

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Hope this warms you up on a cold day!

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