Monday, May 16, 2011

Lemony Spinach Broccoli Soup #1

Late last week I found that I had a few things left in my fridge that needed to be used: broccoli, baby spinach, celery, scallions - the usual suspects that I inevitably throw together to make a soup. Soup to me is the easiest dinner to make - yes, it requires lots of chopping, but otherwise the prep work is pretty easy and it creates good leftovers to bring for lunch. The flavor of this soup was great - thanks to the fresh lemon juice I used, but the texture could use some improvements, so this is Lemony Spinach Broccoli Soup, round #1.

Lemony Spinach Broccoli Soup
1/2 cup orange pepper, chopped
1/4 cup carrot, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 cups broccoli, chopped
2 cups baby spinach, packed
1 TB butter
2 cups chicken broth*
3 TB fresh lemon juice
2 TB light sour cream
1 cup milk
1 TB flour

*You could make this recipe vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped peppers, carrots and celery. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the scallions and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes more and then add your fresh lemon juice.
2. Hint: Never squeeze the fresh lemon juice directly into the saucepan because seeds can easily fall in without your noticing. Always squeeze over a bowl first, which allows you to spot the seeds before adding to the soup!
3. Add your broth next, bring to a slow boil (which should only take 3-4 minutes). Turn down to low and simmer for 10 minutes. During this step you can also add a couple grinds of fresh pepper.
4. Add the broccoli and cook for just 1 minute more. The broccoli will cook fast in the hot broth, which is why it needs so little time. Also, because you're going to cream the soup together in a blender, you don't need to worry as much about cooking the broccoli through fully.
5. Next you'll add the spinach, which is along the same lines - will also cook almost immediately when you add it to the soup. Cook another 1-2 minutes and this pre-blender part is done.
6. This was my soup pre-blending. If you like your soup with whole vegetable pieces you can definitely stop at this point and not blend it, but I like that with blending you bring all of the flavors together into every single bite! You could also just blend some of the soup, leaving some vegetable pieces in the soup rather than blending it all.
7. The other important thing to remember is that blending hot soup can be dangerous! Never keep the entire cover on because the pressure from the heat and steam will cause the cover to want to pop off - sending very hot soup right out, making a hot mess. If you have one of the blender covers that has the hole in the middle, use that as a way for the steam/heat to escape. Cover it with a towel to be sure no broth sprays out at you.
8. To help add a creaminess to the soup, as well as to help thicken, I added a bit of dairy as the very last step. In a small one cup measuring bowl mix together the flour and sour cream until completely blended together. If you skip this step the flour may clump in the soup, which is why this step is important. Slowly add enough milk to measure 1 cup of dairy liquid - stirring together as you add it so that the flour, sour cream and milk are completely blended together before you add it to the soup.
9. After the soup is completely blended pour it back into your saucepan over the lowest heat possible. If you let the soup cook on high, it may cause the dairy to separate and make an ugly soup mess. Slowly add the milk mixture and stir together. Allow the soup to heat up again as it may have cooled down in the blending process and after adding cool milk - once heated through, the soup is ready to serve!

The soup has a very distinct lemon flavor, which I really enjoyed - made the soup taste very fresh and homemade. I'm not sure that you'd get that same hint of freshness without using a fresh lemon, so keep this in mind when grocery shopping. I like serving soup in a big mug - you don't need a lot of it because soup tends to be very filling, to me at least. Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment