For the past few months I’ve had extreme food aversions that have forced me to keep a ten-foot-pole distance from anything with smells. I’m about to let you in on a little secret that will explain why I have not been posting as much lately on Eliza Domestica. The reason being: I’m pregnant! But just recently the morning-sickness (more like all-day-sickness) fog has lifted, as well as some of my food aversions except for, but not limited to, garlic, onions, chili (powders or sauces), and eggs. Those are on my vomit list. Since December, I’ve pretty much been eating a bland diet, which is not my style at all. I love foods with soul and flavor – which usually means a lot of spice and aroma. But my tastes are finally inching back towards normal, with the only side effect being extreme heartburn (which I never knew existed until baby!!). The good news is the kitchen isn’t as daunting as it was in the months prior, and I’m actually enjoying getting back to what I love doing – cooking.
Which brings me to this soup. Sunday, Tucson had a freak snow storm, that doesn’t happen too often. Sure, the mountain tops usually get dusted with snow in the winter, but hardly does it ever reach the city. Well, it did yesterday. It was so magical. I loved it! I’m sure most of you who live in snowy regions are probably sick of seeing snow right now, but here in Tucson, it was a nice treat. It also left me having a hard-core craving for hot soup.
My cravings have graduated from smoothies to soups. The craving usually lasts a few weeks, then I’m sick of whatever it is and move on to something else.
After I was determined to warm my bones with homemade soup, I combed through cookbooks for the perfect broccoli cream soup, finally colliding four interesting recipes into one, and adding a few of my own ingredients. Most of the recipes used onions, which now make me gag, so I replaced them with a milder onion taste – leeks. This soup came out delightfully delicious. Light, and perfect for a cold day. If you want to up the ante, have this soup inside a bread bowl, covered with cheese!
Ingredients –updated : in a perfect world, I would have probably used a small white onion, instead of leeks. This is something you can tweak if you’d like, to give this soup more flavor.
Recipe option: VEGETARIANS – replace chicken broth with vegetable broth. VEGANS – do the same as vegetarians, as well as replace the cheese topping with a vegan alternative.
1 large head of broccoli, chopped into small florets (tough parts discarded)
1 head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets (tough parts discarded)
2 leeks, well rinsed and thinly sliced (use both white and light green parts)
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 small potato, thinly sliced, then chopped (about 1 cup)
6 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1/2 cup heavy cream
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, grated for topping
Cheddar cheese, shredded for topping
In a large soup pot, heat up a glug of olive oil over a medium-high heat. Toss in leeks (or chopped onions, if you used them instead) and cook until translucent. Add chopped celery, cauliflower and broccoli. Add another healthy glug of olive oil and stir. Let everything cook, covered, for five minutes (do not allow browning). Pour in chicken broth and bring to a light boil, covered, for 20 minutes. Use a fork or knife to see if broccoli and cauliflower are tender enough to puree (fork should glide in with ease). Use an immersion blender to puree soup, leaving it as smooth or chunky as you wish (I like my soup to be slightly chunky-smooth). Add finely chopped potatoes and bring to a boil for five minutes. Reduce heat to a medium-low and cook for another five minutes. Pour in cream (preheat cream to luke warm prior to pouring into soup). Stir until blended. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes stirring about 1 teaspoon of sea salt in the pot. Add more salt and pepper to taste if necessary. Spoon soup into bowls and generously top with shredded cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese and stir together. This soup is mild, but the two cheeses give it a punch.