I love the idea of including an occasional meatless meal into your weekly meal plans. The idea is great–but I married a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy. If it doesn’t have meat, it isn’t a meal.
I have tried several different approaches to meatless dishes: adding lentils to “beef up” a stew, scrambling tofu (which then resembled shredded chicken) in a skillet meal, throwing so many ingredients into a casserole that you wouldn’t be able to spot meat anyway, and more. Nothing worked. One bite in Michael would say, “Does this have meat in it?” If the answer was no, that was that. He would either pick at it or fix a sandwich instead.
It isn’t that he doesn’t want me to try new things or support my culinary endeavors…he just wants them to include recognizable ingredients and meat.
For about a week I’ve been wanting to try cooking broccoli cheese soup. Potato soup with smoked sausage has been a big hit with my guys, so I thought that the broccoli soup with likely succeed as well. I planned to make this soup pass the “meat test” by tossing in some chicken at the end, but when I mentioned it, Michael surprised me by suggesting that we leave it out!
It brings me great pride, therefore, to present the FIRST EVER meatless* meal from the Purser household!
*The recipe does contain bacon, but any nutritionist will tell you that bacon is not considered a meat in dietary terms–it is a fat. I’ll split hairs if I have to, since it has taken us 10 years to get this far.
Broccoli Cheese Soup
- 3-4 strips of bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/3 cup flour
- 4-6 cups chicken stock (I use homemade)
- 1 large crown of broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1-2 cups milk (you need enough stock + milk to cover the broccoli)
- 1/2-1 T sea salt (to taste)
- 1/2-1 t black pepper (to taste)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1-1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used mild cheddar, but I might try sharp next time)
- additional bacon and/or cheese for garnish
Cook the bacon until crisp and browning. Add onion and cook until pieces begin to soften (about 2 min). Stir in flour and cook 1 minute, taking care not to let it scorch. Add in stock, milk, broccoli, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil then simmer 15 minutes (or until broccoli is tender).
At this point, you have a choice–you can use your spoon to chop/mush up the broccoli a bit, use a potato masher to do the job, or blend the soup with either an immersion blender (which I don’t have but would love) or a regular old blender. I was in a hurry to get supper on the table, and my crew isn’t really picky on the texture of their soups, so I just mushed my broccoli a bit with my spoon.
Mix in the cream and cheese until combined, then check the seasoning levels. I had to add a bit more cheese, salt, and pepper to get mine just right (hence the range of amounts in the instructions).
I served mine with a loaf of Peasant Bread, and it was awesome!
In fact, this is all that was left of the whole big pot of soup:
I sent the Thermos with Zander today–at his request. The other bowl will go with Michael for lunch tomorrow.
That’s it! Every other bit was gobbled up by those lucky enough to be at my house last night.
In all, it made 5 adult + 3 child sized servings. This isn’t a low-fat meal, and it wasn’t intended to be. It is, however, full of good, fresh, real ingredients and plenty of nutrients from those foods. I know everything that was put into it, and I think that’s pretty cool.
Plus, it has bacon. Enough said.
Do you have a favorite soup on a chilly night?