Based on recipe from The Looneyspoons Collection, by Jane and Great Podleski
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon each dried thyme, dried tarragon, and celery seed
2 1/2 cups (reduced sodium) chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup peeled and diced potatoes
3 cups small broccoli florettes
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Add onion, celery and garlic. Cook and stir until vegetables begin to soften about five minutes.
Add thyme, tarragon and celery seed. Cook for 30 more seconds.
Add broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add broccoli and simmer 5 more minutes until broccoli and potatoes are tender.
Use immersion blender, pulsing on/off just a few times until soup is coarsely pureed (still slightly chunky).
1 cup light (5%) cream
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Whisk together cream and flour until smooth. With soup over low heat, add mixture to soup. Increase heat to medium and cook until soup is bubbly and has thickened - stirring constantly.
3/4 cups packed shredded light old (sharp) cheddar cheese (3 oz/85 g)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
(Reserve some of the cheddar for garnish) Add both cheeses and pepper. Heat until cheese is a melted. Add a few shakes of hot pepper sauce if desired and a pinch of salt if necessary.
Notes and Tips...
- Prep - this recipe comes together quickly, but can be even less stressful if broth is prepped and measured, broccoli florets are prepped, and potatoes peeled and cubed (if doing potatoes more than 15 or so minutes ahead of time, cover cubed potatoes in water to prevent discolouration - and drain before adding to soup.)
- Spices - there is such a thing as tarragon powder, and though the recipe does not specify, I use dried tarragon leaves; when my thyme plant is not covered in snow, I have also used fresh thyme instead of dried (substitute 1 TB fresh for the 1/2 tsp dry)
- Broth - I don't usually have reduced sodium broth - adjust seasoning / salt to taste at the end.
- Broccoli - reserve a few florets, torn into we bits, for the garnish; if the head of broccoli has just a bit more florets than the specified 3 cups, I still use/add them all; if you have too many florets left after the 3 cups, then save them for Steamed Broccoli with a Twist; save the stalk for this recipe**
- Broccoli Last and Fast and Green - one of the nice things about this soup is that, if done carefully, it remains a bright green. There's an entire science linked to why green veggies turn into that drab olive colour. For now, the only tip is to be sure the potatoes are pretty much done before adding the broccoli. Considering that broccoli can be eaten raw, it needs very little coking time in this soup - no more than 5 minutes. Kitchen wisdom has held that green vegetables need to be cooked uncovered to keep their green colour - others dispute this. Everyone does agree that time is important - less is better than more. So, no more than 5 minutes - and just to be safe - I do not put the lid back on to the pot.
- Immersion Blender - when all or some of a soup recipe needs to be puréed, the Podleski sisters have a habit of suggesting that all/some of the soup be transferred to a blender or food processor. This has always seemed to be too much work/messy, I simply use an immersion blender. Since the goal is for the soup to be partially chunky do not get carried away with that hand blender!
- Whisk flour and cream - for these kinds of tasks I always use Easy Blend Flour. In this case I put the flour into a cup and add some cream slowly whisking, and when smooth,add the rest of the cream. I don't always have light cream in the house, and have used combos of whole milk (3.5%) with a bit of heavy cream.
- Shredded cheddar garnish - in addition to the tiny florets, use a bit of the white old cheddar; a bit of shredded orange cheddar can be added as a contrast.