Sunday, March 8, 2015

Cream of Vegetable Soup

We've been making soup about once a week.  Throughout the week, we often have roasted vegetables several times and will often make a salad of some sort.  So when we're preparing vegetables, we've taken to saving things like the ends of carrots and onions, the stems of herbs, all of our vegetable "scraps", and storing them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer.  Then Justin makes stock out of them and we make a delicious vegetable soup.  Usually they're broth-based soups, but we felt like going with a cream style this week, packed full of vegetables (and bacon, which is totally optional).  Came out so rich and delicious!  We make large batches at a time so that we have lunches for work.  You can cut the recipe in half if you're not looking for quite so much.

The awesome thing about soups like this, is that you can customize the vegetables to whatever you like.  Don't like mushrooms?  Axe 'em and add cauliflower instead.  Don't like bell peppers?  Axe 'em and add potato instead.  I think most of our soups end up created just using whatever we have leftover in the fridge.  

To go with our soup, for no particular reason except to rock, is The Marked Men doing "All In Your Head".  -jen

Prep Time:  20 minutes (35 if using bacon)
Cook Time:  20 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy
Makes: about 14 cups

  • 1 pound bacon, diced (optional), reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon fat
  • 5 tablespoons butter (6 tbsp if not using bacon fat)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (4 tbsp if not using bacon fat)
  • 2 cups crimini or button mushrooms, diced fine
  • 2 cups broccoli florets (about 1 medium crown)
  • 1.5 cups yellow onion, diced fine (about 1 medium onion)
  • 1.5 cups carrots, diced fine (about 3 medium carrots)
  • 1 cup celery, diced fine (about 3 large stalks)
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced fine (about 1/2 medium pepper)
  • 1/2 cup poblano pepper, diced fine (about 1 medium poblano)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth 
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • salt, to taste (bacon adds a lot of salt on its own, as do most chicken stocks, so taste your soup before adding salt!)
Place diced bacon into a cold stock pot.  Turn heat to medium-high, and cook until crisped, about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Using a slotted spoon, spoon out the crisped bacon and drain over paper towels.  Set aside.  Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the stock pot.

Add olive oil and butter to stock pot (still over medium-high heat).  Add all vegetables and saute until tender, 10-12 minutes.  Add the rosemary, thyme and marjoram to the vegetables and cook 1 more minute.  Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir until flour absorbs oil and is no longer white.  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Whisk in the stock and turn the heat to high.  Whisk continuously until soup begins to thicken a little.  Once it begins to thicken, add heavy cream, white pepper, black pepper and the crisped bacon.  Stir continuously until soup comes to a boil, then remove from heat.  Add salt to taste and serve.

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