We just finished a lovely Sunday dinner, a pleasant way to mark the dwindling hours of the weekend. I didn’t have the opportunity to spend the time I would have liked on my blog last week, and am happily settling down now to write this post before watching some Mad Men before bedtime.
We spent the afternoon scraping and painting trim on the house and shed and were definitely ready for some home-cooked goodness after that. The dinner process started with an idea: let’s have pork chops! The next step was to head to the market for some soul shopping (food shopping is the only kind that warms my heart), and that’s where the rest of the meal came together. Broccoli to make my Curried Cream of Broccoli Soup, and then the inspiration to pick up a celery root to jazz up the usual mashed potatoes.
Back home to the kitchen, where I did my cooking thing while Brent sat at the table with his laptop and helped out whenever I needed a hand. We chatted about the news of the day (posts on Facebook, the new Vespa scooters, plans for the house) and shared a lovely white wine, along with ideas for photographing dinner for the blog. Then we ate our dinner, pronounced it excellent and retreated to the family room for a cozy evening.
The wine we enjoyed with this meal is Terlato Pinot Grigio from the Russian River Valley in California.
Tonight’s post and the following two will tell the tale of how all the elements of this Sunday dinner came together.
Curried Cream of Broccoli Soup
I have been making this soup for close to 25 years. I’ve served to to my family, for lunch with friends, as a first course at dinner parties, I’ve frozen it to have on hand for future meals, and tomorrow I’m going to take some piping hot to work in my thermos for a delicious lunch. It smells great, looks lovely, is incredibly healthy (it contains no cream), and by the way it also tastes great. I originally found the recipe in Jane Brody’s Good Food Book, and have been making it by memory for years. I just checked the book, and see that I’ve modified the recipe somewhat over the years. Here it is as I make it. Oops, I forgot the garlic tonight! It was still good, but I did miss the extra zing it would have added to the flavour.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 baking or Idaho potato, cut into small cubes
- 1 bunch broccoli (about a pound, not that I ever weigh mine)
- 2 packets low sodium chicken broth powder (I use Oxo) dissolved in 2 cups boiling water
- 2 cups plain water
- 1 cup milk (I normally use skim, but tonight I used almond milk)
Ground pepper to taste (salt if you wish, but I don’t use it much)
What to do with all the above
Gently heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and let them sweat a few minutes until translucent but not browned. Add the curry powder, along with a few turns of the pepper grinder, stir in the potatoes, and continue to cook over a simmer.
Trim the broccoli, cut off the florets, and peel the stems and cut them into slices about 1/4 inch thick. (Don’t discard those stems! They’re full of goodness and, after all, you paid for them!)
Add the chicken broth and water, then the broccoli, put a lid on the pan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down, and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes or so, until all the vegetables are tender. Here’s what it looks like at this stage:
Now comes the fun part. Get out the handy immersion blender (aka the boat motor) and puree the soup until smooth. I find the immersion blender much handier to use than a regular blender. It’s quicker, less messy and easier to clean. Just be careful to watch out for splashes – this soup is good, but it’s really hot at this stage!
Once the soup is smooth, add one cup of the milk of your choice. Check for seasoning, and add more pepper if needed (okay, you can add some salt if you insist). Look at the lovely green colour, pale and speckled with darker green bits of the broccoli. It’s wonderful served with a warm whole wheat bun, and makes a pleasing first course for dinner. Enjoy! I predict you just might want seconds.