NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

September 26, 2012

A creamy vegetable soup -- without the cream or butter

(Continued)

Any soup with enough vegetables will be creamy when you puree it. And just about any vegetable will work, though I’ll admit I smuggled in a single Yukon gold potato to assist the broccoli in this recipe. And by the way, a soup without a lot of cream or butter will not only be leaner, it also will taste that much more vividly of the vegetables with which it is made. Cream and butter, much as I love them, tend to tamp down flavor.

The best tool to puree these vegetables is a blender. But if all you have on hand is a food processor or an immersion blender, don’t worry. The finished soup won’t be quite as silky smooth, but it’ll still be delicious. And to save time and money, I’ve used every part of the broccoli. I roasted 3 cups of the florets and added them at the end to add crunch and color to the soup.

I hope you will consider this mostly vegetable soup a suitable candidate for the main course at dinner. With some grilled or toasted country bread and a green salad on the side, I promise you will be plenty satisfied.

SMOKY CREAM OF BROCCOLI SOUP WITH SHARP CHEDDAR

Start to finish: 45 minutes

Servings: 4 mains or 8 starters

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

3/4 pound Canadian bacon, chopped

1 medium yellow onion, sliced (about 1 cup)

2 pounds fresh broccoli (4 cups small florets set aside, the rest, including the stalks, trimmed of tough skin and coarsely chopped)

1 small Yukon gold potato (about 6 ounces), scrubbed and thinly sliced

5 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

Heat the oven to 450 F.

In a large saucepan over medium, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until slightly golden. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a bowl and set aside.

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