Hello again from all of us here on The Half-Acre:
Well we have done a lot in the last week or so, so why don’t we get caught up.
I am going to share two great recipes with you today that have been handed down me. The first is Nana Alice’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup. Last week in New England we had some crazy weather. We were in negative numbers one day and up 50 degrees the next. But I can’t think of any better way to enjoy the cold than cracking out the crock pot and making this delicious meal. If you’re Irish and from New England chances are you have or had a grandmother like my Nana Alice. She was surly, outspoken, a die hard Sox fan and man could she cook! Irish soups and stews are great for winter, they’re usually very hardy and packed with flavor. Nana Alice got this recipe from her mum and it original was made with what else for Irish people but, potatoes! Here’s what you’ll need to get started!
Nana Alice’s broccoli cheddar soup
36 ounces frozen broccoli crowns
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 stick butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
2 cups half-and-half
3 cups grated Cheddar Cheese
1 cup chicken broth
My favorite part of crock pot cooking is the small reminder of my childhood and the Ronco cooking paid advertisements on television you just “set it and forget it”!
Set your slow cooker to low heat, add everything and let it sit for about an hour. After an hour you can give it a quick stir make sure everything is melting nicely and blending well and then let it sit for another hour! How easy is that! Now that being said everyone’s slow cooker is a little different with varying temperature settings so the first time you may want to watch it a little closer because you do want to make sure that your milk and half and half don’t begin to curdle.
For my next recipe I had some help from my middle sous chef, who you will see from pictures has less than perfect food handling skills luckily for this particular night he was the only one eating this batch!
Tomato soup is one of the number one comfort foods in both Poland and the United States and it’s origins go back to 1872. It’s something about the creamy tomato mixed with the savory of most grilled sandwiches you pair it with. It’s also a great way to use up some of those tomatoes from your garden.
To start I went to the freezer and got a jar of my puréed tomatoes that I made over the summer. We will talk about that another time though.
In August I had blanched tomatoes from my garden and then processed them into a purée. Now most will recommend that you use plum tomatoes for this but I found that the Big Boys and the Early Girls blanched and peeled much better, and yielded much more.
Here is what you’ll need for this recipe.
Papa’s Cream of tomato soup
3 tablespoons flour
4 cups milk ( I prefer to use whole)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups puréed tomatoes
I started by running my puree through a tight colander to strain out the seeds that were left in when I initially blanched and pureed the tomatoes. This left me with just all the good tomato stuff I wanted. Before I add heat I like to blend everything together really well so that I can be sure that it combines well so in a large mixing bowl I add the tomato puree the salt, sugar, and 4 cups of milk and then blend well with a hand mixer until it is well combined.
Once everything is mixed well I transfer to a pot and put it over low to medium heat and allow about 15 minutes to simmer, while it is simmering I add flour one tablespoon at a time, making sure each one blends in well to avoid my soup getting a floury flavor. You can do this to taste, and desired texture.
When the soup has simmered and combined well after about 30 minutes I remove it from the heat and serve.
Now in our house all soups are served with a nice savory crunch bread, we even prefer to add cheese fish crackers, and croutons at times.
The most important part is to have fun and to enjoy the quality time with your family!
As always from all of us here on the homestead!
Peace, happiness and salvation!