Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Broccoli Cheese Soup with Rosemary Parmesan Bread

I am kicking myself for not making this before we had our first cold snap last year.  After that, the broccoli succumbed, and I had to buy broccoli at the store to make this soup...boo hoo!

But, in order to ease my sorrows, I made some homemade bread to go along with the soup, and one slice instantly soothed all my woes about store-bought broccoli. ;-)

I know some people are intimidated by making bread, but if you have a bread machine...break it out and let it do all the work for you.  I let the bread machine do all the mixing and rising (except the final rise), and baked it in two loaf pans.  Sometimes my dough collapses during the final rise in the machine, and I end up with a short, slightly dense loaf...which irritates me to no end.  Having the final rise and baking it in loaf pans eliminates that problem, plus I don't get the indention at the bottom of the bread from the mixing paddle. 

I'm posting this now so you can make this tomorrow for Ash Wednesday...pics will follow shortly!

Broccoli Cheese Soup

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and black pepper to taste
4 cups broccoli florets
1 large carrot, diced
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Melt the butter in a stock pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and saute until tender. 

Whisk in the flour and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes. 

Gradually whisk in the half-and-half until the mixture is nice and smooth.
Add the chicken broth, bay leaves, and nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper. 

Lower the heat to medium/medium low, and simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until the soup thickens.
Stir in the broccoli and carrots and simmer another 20 minutes. Make sure it's a gentle simmer, or you risk scorching it on the bottom of the pot. 

Remove and discard the bay leaves.  Puree the soup in a blender in batches (or use an immersion blender like I did) until creamy and smooth.  There will still be visible flecks of broccoli and carrot.
Return the soup to the pot and stir in the cheese over medium heat.  Add a little bit of water (up to 3/4 cup) if you think the soup is too thick.  Serve immediately and garnish with more cheese if you'd like.  In our house...we always put more cheese on top!

Rosemary Parmesan Bread

Makes 2 loaves (or a 2 pound loaf in a bread machine)

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (1/4 ounce envelope)
4 teaspoons olive oil
4 cups bread flour
2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
4 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Dissolve the yeast in the water and let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.  If you don't see lots of little bubbles, either 1) your yeast is too old, or 2) you water was too hot, and you killed the yeast.   If this happens to you, start over with new water and another packet of yeast. 

Once your yeast has been activated, stir in 1 cup of the bread flour, and dump into a large bowl. 

In the pan of your bread machine (or a large bowl if you're doing this entirely by hand), combine the olive oil, the remaning 3 cups of bread flour, parmesan cheese, rosemary, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Add the yeast/flour/water mixture and set your machine according to the manual's directions.  I used the "basic white" setting. 

If you're hands on...dump the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-8 minutes until it's nice and smooth.  Lightly oil the bowl you just used, place the dough in it and turn it over to coat.  Let rise in a warm, draft free place for about an hour, or until double in volume.  One neat trick is to preheat your oven for 30 seconds, and then turn in off.  Quickly place the bowl of dough in the oven--now you have a warm, draft free place for the dough to rise. 

At this point, you can let the bread machine finish your bread for you, or you can punch it down, let it rise again until double in volume, and then punch it down a second time.

I'm sorry I don't have any pictures of the bread in progress...I tried to take some, but they just didn't come out right...too dark inside the bread machine!  And it wasn't easy to keep washing my sticky hands off to try and get a pic...so please forgive me. 

Lightly grease 2 loaf pans.  Divide the dough in half, and place the 2 portions into the prepared pans.  Let rise one last time for about 30 minutes or until double in volume.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown on top.  If you tap the top of the bread, it should sound hollow. 

Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.  Or wait about 20 minutes to slice and serve warm. 

Update:  Would you believe  Christina ate this soup?  Our little girl who will not eat a single vegetable, green, orange, yellow, or otherwise gave it a taste at dinner, and said,

"Mommy, this is YUMMY!"  She gave it 2 big thumbs up and ate the entire bowl!  When I told David, he was really suprised too. 

So if your child avoids veggies like the plague, maybe this soup will change their minds.  I'll be making this more often for sure...I am still amazed Christina loved it!

God bless your table tonight!


maggie said...

Both recipes sound great, but...is there no rosemary in Rosemary Parmesan Bread?

Kimberly said...

Opps...that's what happens when you type late at night!

I'll fix that right away...thanks for catching my mistake!

SnoWhite said...

that looks awesome! Yum.

May said...

Hi, Kimberly! I'm a friend of Alexis' and a big fan of your blog. I want to try to make this yummy soup tonight. How much nutmeg goes into the soup though? It only says 1/4 nutmeg in the recipe. Thanks, and God bless!

Kimberly said...

Opps, sorry May, I mean to say 1/4 teaspoon!

May said...

My husband made your soup last Friday and the popovers recipe that we got from Alexis' cooking blog. The dinner was delicious! Thanks for such great recipes and inspiration! God bless you and your family, Rowena