Project Weeknight: Broccoli Soup

I made my first official Project Weeknight recipe last night. My son loves the broccoli and cheddar soup from the deli at the grocery store but I don't even want to look at the nutritional information -- I'm sure it's a complete train wreck. If I could generate a homemade broccoli soup he'd tolerate and didn't blow my food plan, that would be a total victory.

I pulled out Mark Bittman's 'Quick and Easy Recipes from the New York Times' and found a recipe for Creamy Broccoli Soup. Bittman's recipes appeal to the simple, real food fan in me, but sometimes I have trouble with simple recipes being under-seasoned. Not sure if it's my over-saturated palate or what, but if it tastes like broccoli sitting in chicken stock, I'm not going to like it. I was thrilled by the brief ingredients list and simple directions, but skeptical.

I got home around 5:45 pm and got to work. Bag of frozen broccoli florets in the freezer? Check. Container of decent-quality chicken stock? Check. Clove of garlic? Check. Milk? Check. How easy is that?

The frozen broccoli cooked in about half the time of fresh, plus no veggie prep. Score! I pulled out my stick blender instead of messing up the food processor. I did reserve some of the florets to chop and add back in, just to replicate the Evil Corporate soup my son is used to. I thought it looked a little thin at the end after I added the milk so I tried to thicken it up with a little cornstarch but that didn't work. Oh well.

Fixed the seasonings (salt & pepper) and threw some shredded cheddar on top of each bowl. Done! I'd made sandwiches while the broccoli was simmering, and we were ready to eat at 6:15.

Verdict: Success! My son loved it. Quick, simple, good; can it get any better than that? It's not a heavy cream-based soup (although you can make it that way) but the flavor was still just right.

  • I did use cow's milk for this. I had a three-pack of 8 oz UHT 'milk boxes' (think juice boxes) on hand. They were pretty expensive but I haven't been able to think of any other way to keep small quantities of milk on hand for the rare times I really want to use it.

  • The cheese was a ploy to get my son to buy in. It worked and it was tasty but not necessary.

  • A spoonful of sour cream stirred in to each bowl might be nice.

  • I may try this with alt.milk; probably half soy, half rice since that worked well for cereal.

  • I bet this would rock with homemade chicken stock. Someday....
I found the recipe here, in case you want to play along. Even better, the online version gives a general formula for generating creamy veggie soups. I love formulas like that.


E said...

Try this soup, it is a huge hit in my house (9 year old boy LOVES it)
You can probably use brown rice if you par-boil it ahead of time.
My blog has a couple of good fast weeknight type things on it as well.

Liz C said...

Thanks! The soup recipe does look awesome.