Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cream of Roasted Broccoli and Garlic Soup



Cream of Roasted Broccoli and Garlic Soup makes a great starter for a dinner party or a nice warm lunch on a cold wintry day.  Most of the time preparing this dish is spent roasting the broccoli and garlic in the oven, giving one ample time to prepare other dishes or simply relax while the garlic and broccoli cooks.  The homemade rosemary-thyme croutons are a quick and easy fix that goes perfectly with the soup.

For a vegetarian version of this recipe, substitute the chicken broth with vegetable broth or stock.

This soup can also be made ahead of time and simply reheated before serving.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 70 minutes
Active Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Special Tools:  Food Processor

Ingredients:

Soup
5 Garlic Cloves (unpeeled)
1.5 lbs. Broccoli Florets
Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Cream Cheese
3.5 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth
2 Teaspoons Dried Chile de Arbol seeds

Rosemary-Thyme Croutons
3 Cups French Crusted Bread cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Teaspoons Fresh Rosemary leaves
1 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place the unpeeled garlic cloves in a sealed aluminum foil packet and place it in the oven to roast for 50 minutes.

While the garlic roasts, place the broccoli florets on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Season the florets with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Drizzle the olive oil over the broccoli florets and toss the ingredients together using your hands until the florets are well coated.  After the garlic has roasted for 30 minutes, place the rimmed baking sheet with broccoli into the oven to roast with the garlic for the remaining 20 minutes.

While the broccoli and garlic roast, start preparing the croutons.  Place the bread on a another rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Season the bread with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Drizzle the olive oil over the bread. Sprinkle the rosemary and thyme over the bread and toss the ingredients together using your hands until the bread is well coated with the olive oil.   Set aside.

Remove the garlic cloves and broccoli florets from the oven and set aside to cool (about ten minutes). Transfer the cooled ingredients into a large food processor.  Pulse the ingredients until the florets are nearly pureed.  Add the cream cheese, 2 cups chicken  broth (or vegetable broth) and the dried chili pepper seeds into the food processor.  Process the ingredients until well combined (about 40 seconds).   Transfer the ingredients into a 3-4 quart pot.  Stir in the remaining broth and bring the ingredients to a boil and then reduce the heat to a slow simmer.  Season with salt and pepper and keep the soup warm stirring occasionally to prevent the bottom layer of the soup from burning.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place the baking sheet with the prepared croutons into the oven to toast for about 12-15 minutes or until the bread is lightly browned.  Remove the croutons from the oven to cool.

Serve the Cream of Roasted Broccoli and Garlic soup in bowls with a few croutons sprinkled over the soup.  Enjoy.

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