At the risk of belaboring this point…Mother Nature’s seasonal dial seems to be stuck between Winter and Spring. The Sierra forecast for this weekend was for 15 inches of new snow. It would be all well and good if this were not early June. As in almost summer. As in I’m tired of the cold and rain. My northern California neighbors would understand.
But we’re slaves to Nature’s whims, are we not, so we may as well go with the flow. I abandoned my grilling plans and replaced them with time on the stove for a big pot of soup. Not a brothy, summery soup but a hearty, filling one with a potatoes. Normally, I would have thrown leeks into the mix but since I was in refrigerator clean-up mode, I used broccoli florets, celery, onions and shallots.
With extra time granted by rainy weather, I chopped all my leftover onions and shallots and caramelized them for 30 – 45 minutes to bring out their sweetness and deepen their flavor. The result was a rich, brown base that eliminated the need for much enhancement to the stock. In fact, I used only a 32-ounce container of chicken stock for the big pot I made, water made up the rest of the liquid.
I puréed the soup once all the vegetables were tender and added only 1/4 cup of cream to finish. Garnished with bacon, sprinkled with a bit of cheese and served with baguette slices, I didn’t mind so much sitting in front of the fire on this cold, June day.
* Use this as a guide. These are approximate measurements. Feel free to use whatever you have in the refrigerator like I did.
- 1 bag of small red potatoes (about 1 pound), rinsed and cut into quarters
- 2 – 3 cups broccoli florets
- 2 medium onions and 5 small shallots, chopped
- 2 – 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 32-oz container of stock (I used chicken)
- Water, several cups
- Curry powder, to taste (I used 1 – 2 teaspoons)
- salt and pepper
- Olive Oil
- No-salt seasoning, to taste
- 1/4 cup cream
- Accompaniments: Baguette slices, your choice herbs, cheddar cheese
- In a large pot, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat then add the onions and shallots. Cook for at least thirty minutes over moderate heat until they are nicely caramelized. Stir occasionally.
- Add the celery and cook for five to eight minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the chicken stock, scrape the caramelized bits at the bottom of the pan, bring to a boil and add the potatoes. There should be enough liquid to cover the potatoes but if not, just add water. Simmer until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Add the broccoli florets and add enough water to cover them in the pot. Bring back to a boil and cook until they are also tender.
- At this point, if you feel you need more flavor in the soup, add your favorite no-salt seasoning blend.
- Purée the soup (I use a stick blender). Add a dash or two of curry powder to the puréed soup to brighten the flavors even more. You won’t need too much.
- Add the cream and stir until combined.
- Serve in bowls with desired accompaniments.