Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Soup Month: Broccoli, Red Pepper and Cheddar Chowder

I don't know if this is a chowder. It's a blended soup. It has some of the elements of chowder - potatoes, butter, cream, garlic, onions. But, it's a blended soup. I didn't name it, however, so I'll just leave it alone. I got this recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers, Michelle over at Je Mange la Ville. Michelle is a wonderful cook and writer, and she is the one who inspired me to start this blog in the first place.

She used sweet potatoes instead of a russet; I changed it up again and used two Yukon Golds. But, I might use just one potato next time. And, of course, I added a touch more garlic. I had to add quite a bit more salt to my pot; this may have been the result of the extra potato.

I enjoyed this soup, particularly the warm cumin flavor. Broccoli-cheese soup is one of my favorites, and this was great with the sweet red pepper added.

Broccoli, Red Pepper and Cheddar Chowder based on a recipe from Gourmet Magazine, via Je Mange la Ville

1 small head broccoli
1 Yukon Gold potato, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 large garlic cloves, grated
2 T unsalted butter
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dry mustard
2 T flour
3 cups Cheddar, grated
couple dashes of Tapatio or other hot sauce
1/4 cup heavy cream, optional

1. Cut off the bottom of the broccoli stem. Finely chop remaining stem. Cut the rest of the broccoli into florets. Cook florets in 2 CUPS of lightly salted, boiling water for about 2-3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, place the broccoli florets in a bowl of ice water to stop cooking, then drain. Save the cooking water. (I didn't read closely enough and missed the part about using only 2 cups of water to cook the broccoli florets.)

2. Melt the butter in a 3-4 quart heavy pot over medium heat. Add potato, onion, red pepper, broccoli stems and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 8-10 minutes.

3. Add cumin, salt, pepper, and mustard and cook, stirring, one minute. Add flour and cook, stirring, for two minutes. Add reserved broccoli water and chicken stock and simmer (partially covered) for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Stir in cheese and continue to cook and stir until the cheese is melted. Add the hot sauce to taste.

4. Puree 3/4 of the chowder in a blender or food processor until smooth, and then return to pot. (I used my immersion blender, but I think in this case, an actual blender would yield better results.) Add reserved florets and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in cream. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately.

Soup Month has been great. I tried some new recipes and found some new favorites. I learned that cauliflower can be a luscious treasure. However, I didn't seem to find time to tell you about my go-to soup. It's my trademark. It's the first soup I learned how to make, though it has grown and changed just like I have since that time. I promise I will share it with you soon. After all, Soup Month may be over, but the soups must go on!


mrs oh said...

okay, i am definitely making this one soon! we have our meals planned out for the first half of the month, but next time i'm at the store i'm buying the ingredients i'll need.

yum yum.

Lizzy said...

Looks amazing as usual!

michelle said...

Oh, yours looks so good! :)

Almost makes me wish it was colder right now...almost.

Louisa said...

Hi! Wow! I cannot believe you know those caramels. It sounds like you can attest, they are just the best!

B T said...

Did a random 30-second search for dinner before leaving work today and came upon this winner! The quick search for dinner usually doesn't turn out as well as it did today-- and we just happened to have everything we needed for it. I hope you don't mind, I added two little turnips that I had hanging around. Pot's still on the stove but so far, so good!

Tyler Simpson said...

mmm i enjoyed this last week and it was delicious! i featured this recipe and your post on my blog, check it out :)