Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bad Economy Broccoli Stem Soups . . .

While we may not be in anything like what my Oma (German for grandma) experienced post WWII, I recently found myself exhibiting very thrifty tendencies . . . these tendencies were the genesis of my 3-versions of Bad Economy Broccoli Stem soup:))))

The economic part of this discussion is the use of what you might have thrown away before . . . a few posts ago, I mentioned that I made broccoli for 12 as a side. That left me with a lot of stems . . . I saved them and a few nights later made soup (for 2 hours . . . ) three different ways. Needless to say, it was a creative endeavor.

With my creative juices flowing . . . I decided to split the soup base into 3 parts:
1) the simplest, pure broccoli soup with some herbs
2) the most common, broccoli soup with cheddar . . . mmmm
3) the most unique, only 1 recipe that I could find online, broccoli and sweet potato soup

Read on to try some of my informal efforts and decide which one you like best on your budget!

Base Broccoli Stem Soup (enough for 1 pot, i made about 2.5 times this amount and then split into my experiments)
  • 2-3 cups of diced broccoli stems, remove any dried or hard edges first
  • 1/4 red onion finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 cups Chicken Broth, I used chicken stock that we made from a leftover rotisserie chicken from earlier in the week
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2-3 Tbsp flour
In a large pot, heat the olive oil and sautee the onions and garlic. Add the veg & stock, simmering the broccoli stems in the chicken broth until they are soft. It took about 75 minutes for mine to get to the point where I could puree them with a hand blender. Cuisinart's multi-function hand tool is the one I always rave about . . . and for under $40, it has gotten more than its fair share of value in my home:)

Once you have blended the base soup, you can proceed with thickening it and/or modifying it creatively:) To thicken it, I made a roux, which is a simple butter & flour mixture that serves to thicken a number of sauces and stews in various cultures. To make the roux, melt the butter on medium-high in a small saucepan until it is mildly browned. Add the flour in small batches, stirring continuously until the combination resembles a light brown paste that is just a bit runnier than toothpaste. Mix the roux into the soup and let it cook a bit longer to thicken. This with a little salt, pepper, thyme and paprika became the basic soup.

For my two other variations, I proceeded as follows:
Broccoli Soup with Cheddar
Super easy. I shredded about 1 cup worth of cheddar and slowly added this to the warm soup, blending it in completely. Then I seasoned with salt, pepper and again thyme. Done. Serve with a little crusty bread and cheddar for a warm winter meal.

Broccoli and Sweet Potato Soup
This one was a little more work only because I had to repeat the cooking process with the sweet potato. Dice one sweet potato and then simmer it in water until the chunks are very soft. Hand blend and mix together with 3-4 cups of base broccoli soup. Season with ginger, salt and pepper for a delicious and fall spicy soup. This one ended up tasting close to a butternut squash but slightly less sweet. mmmmmm . . . my fave of the whole batch.

Wishing you all a great fall and looking forward to bringing other tasty, healthy and budget friendly recipes your way:)))

1 comment:

Nancy Ging said...

Wonderful! I was looking for a soup recipe I could make and freeze in several batches. (A friend gave me a lot of garden fresh broccoli stalks because she only freezes the florets.) If I freeze your base recipe, I could use the other two variations to change the soup (or not) when I serve it later this winter. That gives me three soups in one! Perfect!