Saturday, November 27, 2010

Date night! Soup in bread bowls, part 2

So, this was originally going to be cream of sweet potato and peanut soup, but we made a last-minute switch, and made cream of broccoli, instead.

We were also going to do date night on Saturday. We ended up doing it on Monday, instead.

So, part 2: Cream of broccoli soup, to go in the bread bowls!

The recipe is taken from a soup cookbook that I've had for a while.

-2 pounds (around  4-5 stalks) chopped broccoli. Separate the thick stems, peel them and chop them.
-1 medium onion, chopped.
-1 leek, sliced lengthwise and chopped
-2 celery stalks, chopped
-.25 Cup olive oil.
-1/4 Cup all-purpose flour
-1.5 Qt chicken broth
-.5 cup cream
-.5 tsp dill
-Lemon juice, salt, pepper, to taste

Chop up the vegetables. Don't be too fussy about it, they're all going to go into the blender later, and then get strained. For this reason, it's actually preferable to chop the celery as coarsely as possible... that way the fibers will be strained out more easily. Otherwise, they can get through the straining process, and end up in the final soup. I know, it's just celery. But fibers in a cream soup is really not a good texture. Good cream soup will coat the mouth, and be very comforting. A celery fiber in that context feels almost like a hair. 

Cook the vegetables in the olive oil on medium heat, stirring frequently until the onions start to become translucent. (~8 minutes) Then add the flour, and cook for another 4 minutes, still stirring frequently.

Add the broth slowly, and add the dill. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 45 minutes.

The recipe says to strain the liquids. I'm not too fussy about this step. Scoop the vegetables into the blender, hold the lid down, and puree. I typically fill the blender cup half-way, because if the cup is too full, the stirring hot liquid heats up the remaining air, and the pressure pops the lid off a little bit. It's messy.

Puree the soup, and then strain into a new bowl or pot. Season to taste.

And, the money shot: cream of broccoli served in the bread bowls:

The experience was similar to last time. The soup itself is great. So, we each had seconds. And then we started working on the bowls, and felt almost immediately full. My theory is that the dough for the bread bowls is so full of whole grain goodness (oat flour, oatmeal, and oat bran, in particular) that it all swells up almost immediately in the stomach. Neither of us could finish eating the bowls. So, if you're planning a nice dinner for two, my suggestion is to scoop out more of the bread bowls, and leave dinner as a single-serving kind of meal. Alternately, if you're feeding a crowd, use regular bowls for the soup, and serve the bread, cut up into pieces, or crumbled, to put into the soup. The dough will soak up the soup very well, and turn it into a stew-like texture that is very, very filling.

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