Monday, December 26, 2011

There's more to this soup than Campbell's

As a boy a bowl of warm soup left me cold. It was awfully dull stuff. My mom's idea of a great soup was Campbell's frozen potato soup. I recall it was much better than the condensed variety but there's no way to check that today. Campbell's frozen soups from the '60s are no more.

It was not until I was in my thirties and visiting some friends in Connecticut that I had a memorable soup. It was a cream of vegetable soup that was came from a gourmet food shop. It was thick. I mean it was really, really thick. It was a soup with body, texture, and lots and lots of flavour. I was won over; I was a soup fan.

Fast forward to today. I am now married to an amazing cook. She makes soups on par with that oh-so-memorable Connecticut soup from three decades ago. Her cheese with broccoli and carrot cream soup is wonderful. It made a great intro to our family Christmas dinner and the following day it was lunch. With a slice or two of homemade bread, it made a great midday meal.

Before giving you the recipe, let me say that I have noticed my wife making great use of both her food processor and her large, stand mixer. Both are made by KitchenAid. For this soup, she uses her food processor to shred the cheese and chop the carrots. The soup, minus the cheese, is first heated on the stove and then the hot soup is puréed in the mixer. She whisks the grated cheese into the hot soup immediately before serving.

And both can be quite expensive but stay alert and you can pick them up on sale. Canadian Tire had a KitchenAid stand mixer on sale before Christmas for under $200.

Judy's Broccoli Soup

750 ml or 3 cups of broccoli coarsely chopped
250 ml or 1 cup of coarsely chopped carrots
250 ml or 1 cup of coarsely chopped onion
125 ml or 1/2 cup water
500 ml or 2 cups of cheddar cheese, old Canadian style
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
And here's the cheat: She adds two ten ounce cans of  Campbell's condensed cream of potato soup, plus two cans of one percent milk.

— First, microwave the broccoli and carrots until soft.
— Then microwave the onions in the water until the onions are soft.
— Now, mix broccoli, carrots and onion/water mix together.  Add two cans of soup and stir until smooth and follow this by adding the two cans of milk. The soup will be somewhat lumpy at this point.
— Pour the mix into a food processor and puree. Don't blend too much. You want to retain some of the texture of the vegetables.
— Microwave on high until the soup is bubbling hot. This should take less than ten minutes. Make sure to stir the mix at least twice while it is heating.
— Remove from microwave, stir in the grated cheese and the quarter teaspoon of pepper.
— Serve immediately.

I think my dear, old mother would have liked this soup. It contains Campbell's condensed soup. Ah, if only it was the frozen variety.

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