French Blended Soup
February 8, 2011 § 1 Comment
E: I’m pleased to say that this recipe is finally making its way out into the world. It comes from my mother–her attempt to copy a dish she had at a French restaurant years ago–and I’ve had it (and made it) countless times. It was rediscovered in my family around the time I got my wisdom teeth out, and honestly, that first night of not being able to eat anything solid was, I think, the night I fell in love with this recipe. Joanna and I made this over the holidays with the express intention of finally getting it out in the world where it belongs.
Because I like to go over the options before getting into the recipe proper, I’ll do that here. You can make this vegetarian or not. This version is the vegetarian one, but if you wanted to use chicken you could use 3/4 to 1 pound of chicken breasts, cubed, and drop to 3-4 yukon gold potatoes instead of the 5-6 potatoes used here. The other thing you can do is blend only some of the soup and mix it back in, so you still have chunks of vegetable in it. We usually blend it totally smooth, but go ahead and experiment for yourself.
The amounts of herbs are suggested. You can go lighter on them if you use chicken and chicken broth, or you can forgo measuring them and just do it to taste, as I often do.
You will need:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (we used a sweet yellow onion)
2-4 garlic cloves, chopped small (I like more garlic, so I tend to use 4)
1 quart vegetable broth, low sodium (or chicken broth if you want)
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper (or to taste)
1/2-1 tsp dried thyme
1/4-1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2-1 tsp herbes de provence (or skip this and compensate with more rosemary and thyme)
4-5 medium-large yukon gold potatoes, cubed
4-6 carrots, sliced (4 large-ish, or 6 smaller ones)
2-3 stalks of broccoli, chopped
salt, to taste
optional: Parmesan cheese for grating
I always cook this in a dutch-oven type pot, so I can sauté the onions and garlic first and then boil the soup in the same pot. So put something like that on your stove, pour about 2 tbsp of oil into it (enough to just lightly cover the bottom), and start it heating on medium-high.
When the oil is hot, add the onion, sauté for about a minute, add the garlic, and saute for another 2 minutes or so, until the onion is soft and beginning to turn yellow.
If you are using chicken, now would be the time to throw the chicken cubes in, and sauté them for a few minutes or until they are no-longer-pink on the surface. If you aren’t using chicken, you can start the next part now.
Add the broth to the onions and garlic, and as it heats throw in the chopped potatoes, carrots, and the seasonings. I used a different brand of vegetable broth this time, which was so dark it looked like beef broth, so don’t be worried if yours doesn’t look quite like this. It didn’t seem to affect the final flavor too much, but it did make the final color a bit darker than it usually is.
Once the mixture starts to boil, cover and turn the heat down so the soup boils over low-to-medium heat for about 20 minutes. If your soup looks more liquid than mine, then you can leave the cover off for part or all of the process so some of the moisture can escape.
Add the broccoli and check some of the broth to see how the level of seasoning is. Add some salt, to taste, and if you feel it needs it then add some more herbs. Cook the broccoli for 10 minutes or so.
When the broccoli is cooked and the potato cubes are soft, take the soup off the heat. If you can, let the soup cool down for 10 minutes or so in order to make it safer to blend. If you have an immersion blender and cooked the soup in a bare-metal pan (not non-stick, or you’ll scratch the finish), then use that to blend the soup. Otherwise, remove the soup in batches to a standard blender–fill it no more than half way, and start on the lowest speed–and blend it there. I suggest pouring all the batches of blended soup into a big mixing bowl, and mixing them up at the end before serving. If you blend a bowl-at-a-time some will be thicker than others.
At this point, salt the soup to taste.
Serve with parmesan cheese, fresh ground pepper, and a slice of hearty bread (take note to gluten-free people, the soup is filling enough that you really don’t need the bread: use an alternative like rice bread or skip it altogether).