Monday, March 2, 2009

Food porn: Cheddar-broccoli-potato soup


Oh man.

It sleeted here today. It snowed overnight and then it sleeted. Little balls of ice fell from the sky and collected in yards and driveways and front walks and I had to go move them around.

This is the damnedest stuff. It's like trying to push tiny little BBs around and pile them here and there. They just won't stay. They won't stick to each other. What a pain.

And speaking of pain, it's amazing how sharp a teeny little ROUND ball of ice can feel when it hits the skin of one's face. A and I both worked with hoods up and heads down today. Miserable stuff, that sleet. And bitterly cold.

So it makes for a good soup night. And not just any thin, watery broth with flimsy vegetables and a couple of noodles floating in a bowl kind of soup, but a hearty, thick, creamy, stick to your ribs kind of soup.

I went online and dug around for a bit. I wanted potato and cheese soup. Maybe with broccoli, maybe not. It would depend on the recipes I found. I dug and looked and found one that looked like a good jumping-off place. What I did to it rendered it sufficiently different from what was published that I feel zero compunction about not citing a source. Trust me, this ain't that lady's soup. I doubled some stuff, tripled some others, left out the bullion (in potato soup?? wtf?) and added a goodly lump of first-class pancetta. Bullion? Puh-lease.

Bear with me here. Some of my pictures washed out with the flash, so there are some dark ones. My apologies.


I started with butter - about 3 tablespoons of it. Plunk, in a pot.

Then I took that goodly hunk of pancetta. I have no idea how much was there - about an inch and a half thick chunk, I think.

and I cut it into cubes and introduced it to the butter. Pig fat, meet milk fat.

They became fast friends.

Then I tossed in about three cups of large-diced onions and let them all sautee around together. while I peeled and diced (about 3/4 inch big) between 3 and 4 pounds of potatoes. In this case, we ran out of the yellow potatoes we had, so L ran to the neighbor's and borrowed five medium-to-small red skinned ones. Cool. Those cook faster than the yellows, so they went in after the yellows, and I didn't peel them, either. There are no pictures here of onions or potatoes. If you need pictures of onions and potatoes, you have no business in a kitchen. Stop reading now and go see what Mel is knitting at Cabezalana. I think he is headed to India on vacation this week. Maybe he's knitting something. There are often kitty and puppy pics. Check it out.

I'm sorry, where was I? Right, soup. We're making soup.

So after the onions are translucent (mine caramelized a little bit - no biggie) add a couple cups of water and the diced potatoes. Bring the pot to a boil, cover and let bubble for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

While that is happening, thaw about 20 ounces of frozen broccoli florets in whatever method you prefer. I run warm water over them in a colander in the sink. Just so long as they're not frozen when you add them to the soup.

Now is also a good time to grate about 16 ounces of decently sharp cheddar cheese and set it aside.

Remove about half of the potatoes to a bowl. Turn the burner heat down to very low.

And using an immersion blender, smush around the stuff remaining in the pot. It will look kinda nasty. Add milk here - maybe a cup - to thin it out a bit. It does not have to be a super-smooth puree, just moderately smushed. I suppose you could use an old hand-operated potato masher, but with that sexy stainless boat motor, why would you?

Anyway. Then you add the broccoli and stir it all around. (I whizzed it a little with the blender just to mush some of the broccoli, too, but only a few pieces.) Let it come up to temperature and then begin adding the cheese, a little at a time, allowing it to melt and incorporate into the soup as you stir. when the cheese is all added and melted, return the potatoes back to the soup and stir until everything is back up to temperature. Be careful, the cheese and potatoes will want to stick to the bottom of the pan, so stir often and don't be tempted to turn the heat up.

Serve in large bowls. Salt and pepper to taste. Serves four or five hungry people for supper, six or more as an appetizer.

10 comments:

Robin said...

That looks utterly wonderful. If I ever stop dieting I will definitely be making it! Love the way you wrote it up, too. Very informative and detailed, but also very you.

Hope your weather improves soon. I hope you're at least racking in some bucks with all this snow removal lately.

dolphyngyrl said...

Dude, you lost me on the very first picture. That might be a record.

CaroleMcDonnell said...

That looks soooo good. I really hate using broccoli in soup, though, if there's chance there'll be leftovers. But you have me dreaming of creamy soups.

Kay said...

Omg... what is it with the food blogs this morning?

Y'all got together and decided to torment hungry ol' me!

That looks sooo yummy! Even worth living in a place where it sleets...

...maybe.

Diane said...

oooooo, yummy. gonna give it a try on thursday. thx!

twoladiesinwaiting.com said...

Um, yum. Yum yum yum. Since frantic dieting began, I have been living vicariously through the Food Network. Now I have your internet deliciousness. Thank you.

Queenie said...

How lucky you are to be able to buy pancetta - There is such a poor selection of food at my local Hannaford's that I'd have to settle for salt pork....

asthmagirl said...

This looks amazing! Nicely done!

msladydeborah said...

Your soup looks delicious!
A great meal for a nasty weather day.
I feel for you all in that portion of the union. We had a system blow through here like you described last month. It took weeks for all the ice to melt off.

Distributorcap said...

more yum

i want to be an judge on Iron Chef