Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Broccoli, Potato & Cheese Soup

Soup should just about always be made from scraps and leftovers. That's really the purpose of soup ... to help get rid of miscellaneous bits of stuff you have around. It turns out that, as long as the stuff you keep around the house is pretty healthy, your soup will be pretty healthy, too. And it will keep you warm you on those snowy winter days (which we happen to be enjoying right now)!

For this soup, I use all the broccoli stalks that I've accumulated in the freezer. When they build up enough, I add just a little fresh broccoli, some homemade veggie stock (also from frozen scraps), and a few other ingredients, and voila! Soup!

Broccoli, Potato & Cheese Soup
3 cups of broccoli stems, cut into chunks
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 stalks celery, cut into chunks
1 cup thin-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large onion, peeled and halved
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 quarts low-sodium veggie broth
1/4 cup dry white wine (or 2 Tbsps white wine vinegar, if you prefer)
1 tsp. dried tarragon
2 bay leaves
1 cup broccoli florets, cut into very small bits
1/2 cup non-fat milk
8 oz. shredded cheese (I used Monterey Jack, but you could use anything that you like)
salt and pepper, to taste

Combine broccoli stems, carrots, celery, potatoes, onion, garlic, veggie broth, wine, tarragon and bay leaves in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, covered, for 1 hour.

Remove the bay leaves. Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender), puree the soup. Season with salt and pepper. Return to moderate heat, adding the milk and cheese. Adjust seasonings. Serve.

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