Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Something from Nothing #7: Boxing Day Broccoli Soup

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.  As usual ours was quiet with just the four of us celebrating here at home.  We had lots of great food, opened a couple of good presents and spent the day just enjoying each other's company while trying to figure out how to put Backpacker magazine on my husband's new IPad.  Thank goodness for our big kids.  Without their help I don't know if our marriage would have survived this exercise in madness.   Even at that, I wish we had just one more day to hang out together before everyone heads back to work.

Personally I think the British have the right idea.  Many of you might not know this, but in the UK the day after Christmas is a holiday known as Boxing Day   This bank holiday gives families just one more day to spend together before they have to say good-bye to Christmas for another year. Brilliant!

In the 1800s when this holiday began, Boxing Day was a day off for the household servants of the country who had to serve their employers on Christmas Day.  Not only were they given the day off, but this was also the day that they were given a gift of thanks in the form of a "Christmas box" that was most often filled with money.

Traditionally this is also the day that cold meats are served and this does make sense.  I mean with the servants having the day off, how could anyone figure out how to turn on the oven?  I completely understand the problem since my servants have the day off today too.

Even though we are going to go with tradition today and eat our leftover ham out of the fridge,  it is really cold here in Colorado so I think I'm going to turn the stove on for just a minute and prepare a quick little soup to go with our sandwiches.  Since I was having so much fun (i.e. champagne drinking) yesterday and I totally forget to cook my broccoli,  I guess broccoli soup it is.

A year or so ago I happened to catch Gordon Ramsay on Kitchen Nightmares teaching a chef how to make a super simple and fresh version of this soup.  Remembering his genius three ingredient version, I thought this would be perfect for my blog and boy was I ever right.  This little recipe is low calorie, healthy, inexpensive, and if you have any vegetarians or vegans visiting you for Christmas, totally suitable for their diets.  This is a great recipe that everyone will love.

My adaption of Gordon Ramsay's Broccoli Soup

As usual I have taken a few liberties here like adding some celery and onion, but hey, I had lots of them in the fridge from my holiday cooking and I love 'em. If you are a purist and want to cook Gordon's original, leave them out.

Enough water to just cover the florets (You'll have to guess at this the first time you make it.  I needed 5 cups.  This is important because you are going to use this broth for the soup, too much water will produce a weak broth and not enough will keep the florets from cooking evenly.)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound broccoli florets
2 stalks celery, chopped (optional)
1 small onion, chopped (optional)
Additional salt and pepper to taste

Pour water and salt into a large sauce pan.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat then add the broccoli and celery and onion if you are using them.  Reduce heat slightly and cook until the vegetables are very tender.  Mine took about 15 minutes. 

With a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked vegetables to the bowl of a food processor or blender saving the broth in the pan.  Add the broth to the blender bowl until it comes about half way the vegetables.

Place a couple of folded dish towels on top of the blender lid and press down gently to secure the lid.  Pulse on low several times to puree the mixture.  Be very careful and do this slowly as blending hot liquid is dangerous business.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Gordon recommends dressing this soup up a little with some goat cheese and a few walnuts.  I thought this sounded pretty good, but since I don't like goat cheese I floated a slice of a toasted pecan and cheddar cheese log that I made for Christmas Eve on top.  Magnifico!

I think that this is a great soup base.  Sometime I might just try adding a splash of cream and a pat of butter, but with all the rich food I've been eating lately, I think I'll just stick to the healthy original for now.

Serves 3 - 4
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