Rain today, soup is a perfect cooler weather meal. This is also the perfect soup to make use of the jumbo head of broccoli in the fridge, the last carrot, and the bacon that had been defrosted and not used.
Start off by cutting the broccoli into florets, setting aside the smaller, nicer ones for garnish. Dice the stems as well, these have so much goodness in them and are underused.
Blanch the garnish florets in salted water, then run under cold water to stop them from overcooking.
Set aside until needed.
Dice 2 strips of bacon, and cook in 1 teaspoon of olive oil (to prevent too much sticking) until they are starting to crisp up.
1 medium carrot, diced
1/2 medium onion, dices
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
Add some seasonings:
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
salt and pepper
After a couple of minutes, add in 1 russet potato, peeled and diced.
Add chicken stock and/or water to cover the potatoes, and bring to a boil.
When the liquid is boiling, add in the broccoli stems and florets that you chopped earlier. Add more liquid if needed, to cover the broccoli.
Cook on a low heat until the broccoli stems, potatoes and carrots are all tender when pierced with a fork.
Remove from the heat and puree with a hand blender, blender or food processor.
I like to put the pureed soup through a strainer, to make sure there are no lumps, and it is smooth and creamy.
When the soup has been pureed and strained, add the garnish broccoli and about 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese.
Thin the soup out with a bit of milk, until the consistency is to your preference.
Heat on a low heat, just to warm the broccoli and melt the cheese. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve hot, garnished with grated cheddar and crumbled bacon.
- I had about 1 cup of chicken stock in the fridge, so I used water for the remaining liquid. You can use only water, the vegetables add a lot of flavour. Use vegetable stock if you have that available.
- I have made this soup many times, but this is the first time I used bacon. It adds a smoky flavour, and the garnish adds a nice crunch.
- Add extra vegetables, such as chopped celery, leeks or zucchini if you like.
- Substitute cauliflower for the broccoli, and garnish with blue cheese.
- Use goat cheese for the broccoli soup, the sharpness and creaminess will be a great complement to the broccoli.
- Serve this as a first course or main course, or as a light lunch. Add some warm bread or crackers to round out the meal.
- If you don't have a potato, add 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of flour to the vegetables, cook it for a minute and then add the liquid and proceed.
- If you like a richer soup, thin it out with whipping cream instead of milk.