Good Housekeeping’s Cream of Anything Soup
Friday afternoon. I just arrived home from work. Today, I’m the chauffeur — one daughter to swim practice, the other to her voice lesson, I’ve got to make dinner and we won’t shop for groceries until Sunday. A quick look and I discover some unfinished broccoli in the vegetable bin. Excellent! I can whip up something tasty and healthy with just the broccoli and my cupboard staples. And I can do it quickly.
We have this thing we call “cream of anything” soup. It can be made from whatever veggies are in season. This week it’s broccoli, and right now it’s at its very best. The local markets are loaded with it, and as for healthy? Hey, it’s broccoli!
We’ve all heard, over and over, how good broccoli is for us. It’s high in fiber, low in calories, loaded with vitamins, its calcium level rivals that of milk, and there is some research that suggests that broccoli, a member of the cabbage family, may also be anti-carcinogenic.
So, if you want all that good stuff, but don’t have a lot of time, try this simple, creamy soup that is healthy and tastes great. Your kids will ask for seconds. It comes from the classic Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, which isn’t really new — it’s been around since 1930, but it’s still one of the best cookbooks around.
And here’s a really cool thing about this recipe: You can make it with whatever vegetables you fancy, or what you have on hand. Just change the vegetable and the seasonings. I’m posting to my blog, talkingfresh.typepad.com, a chart that shows how to adapt this recipe to a wide variety of vegetables, from A (asparagus) to Z (zucchini), and many more in between.
CREAM OF BROCCOLI SOUP
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup chopped onion
4 cups cut broccoli
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, minced fine
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 cups milk
In a saucepan, combine broth, onion, garlic, broccoli and spices. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until the broccoli is tender. Remove the bay leaf.
Place half the broccoli mixture in a blender, cover and blend until smooth, 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat with the remaining mix. Set the blended mix aside.
In the same saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour, salt and pepper and stir until a smooth paste forms (in other words, a roux). Add the milk, and cook and stir until the sauce is thick and bubbly (in other words, a white sauce).
Add back the blended vegetable mixture, cook and stir until the soup is heated throughout. Season with additional salt and white pepper to taste.
Garnish with some fresh-chopped parsley and serve with grated Parmesan cheese.
We’re serving the soup with simple and delicious Parmesan popovers (also made using cupboard staples) from a recipe at Cooks.com. The kids jumped with glee when they heard about these. The popovers are a perfect complement to a warm fall vegetable soup.
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 450 degrees with rack on lower shelf.
Spray 6 large muffin or custard cups with non-stick spray or brush with butter. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
In a medium bowl, stir together milk, flour, butter, and salt. Beat in eggs only until combined. Divide the mixture evenly into the 6 cups.
Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 20 minutes. Brush with butter and serve while still warm.
Here is a chart taken from the wonderful Good Housekeeping Family Cookbook with amounts and yields for making a cream soup out of any vegetable.
Recommendation: double any of these recipes.