Monday, March 22, 2010

40 Meatless Meals - Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Mustard Croutons


5-6 ounces of whole wheat bread, torn into 1-inch pieces, roughly 3 cups total
1/4 cup butter or olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a large bowl, whisk the mustard and salt into the butter and add the bread. Toss well, then turn onto a baking sheet and bake for 10 - 15 minutes, or until golden and crunchy, stirring once or twice while baking.

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped*
1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (1 1/2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 large head of broccoli (12 ounces or 3/4 lb.), cut into small florets
2/3 cup freshly grated Cheddar, plus more for topping
1 - 3 teaspoons brown mustard, to taste
smoked paprika, more olive oil (optional)

Melt the butter or oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the shallots, onion, and a big pinch of salt. Saute for a couple minutes. Stir in the potatoes, cover, and cook for about four minutes, just long enough for them to soften up a bit. Uncover, stir in the garlic, then the broth. Bring to a boil. Once potatoes are tender, stir in the broccoli. Cover and simmer until the broccoli is tender, 2 - 4 minutes.

Remove the soup from heat and puree with an immersion blender. Add half the cheddar cheese and the mustard (a little bit a a time), as well as more water or broth if the soup is too thick.

Serve sprinkled with croutons, the remaining cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and a tiny pinch of smoked paprika.

Serves 4 - 6

Note: I substituted a large leek for both the shallots and the onion, and it worked quite well.

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