Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

The weather suddenly realized it was Fall and the temperatures dropped, we went from flip-flops to wool sock a matter of days.  So the word of the season is SOUP.

This recipe is from Food Network Magazine, October 2011.

No substitutions were made.

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Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

2 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 c low-sodium chicken broth
2 c half-n-half
1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
Kosher slat and freshly ground pepper
2 c chopped broccoli florets
1/3 lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 1/3c)
Croutons, for topping (optional)

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Heat the olive oil in a large pot over med-high heat.  Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the chicken broth, half-n-half, both potatoes, bay leaf, 2 c water, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to med-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, put the broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl; add 3 tblsp water and season with salt.  Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes, drain.

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When the potatoes are tender, remove the bay leaf from the soup and transfer the soup to a blender.  Puree until smooth, leaving the filler cap slightly open to let steam escape (or puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender).  Return the soup to the pot and thin with water, if necessary.  Return to a simmer over med-low heat; stir in the broccoli and season with salt and pepper.

Add the cheese and stir until melted.  Ladle the coup into bowls and top with croutons if desired.

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cartoon-strawberry-9This soup was good, but not great.  I’m wondering if a blend of cheese, cheddar and mozzarella?  Maybe a little Parmesan?  BUT, it was filling and hot on a cold Fall afternoon.

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Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas

I. Miss. Mexican. Food.

Don’t get me wrong, I love living here in Tennessee.  This summer has been beautiful.  We have wonderful friends.  My home is more than I ever dreamed I would have.  But California has some of the best Mexican food on the planet.  I miss it – A LOT.

This recipe is from the Penzey’s catalog, I’m not sure which edition.

Substitutions made, noted below.

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Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas

5 to 6 large tortillas
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled if desired
1/4 c soy sauce, regular or low sodium
2/3 c apple cider vinegar, divided
2 leeks, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 dried hot chili pepper, crushed – I used chili powder
1 15 oz can black beans
3 c grated sharp cheddar cheese – divided – I used Trader Joes 3 cheese blend
vegetable or corn oil

Optional:
1/2 lb. chorizo
1 to 2 c salsa
1/2 to 1 c sour cream
1 to 2 tblsp fresh cilantro

enchilada Collage

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Wash and cut the sweet potatoes into bit-sized chunks.  Put the potatoes, soy sauce and 1/3 c of the cider vinegar into a large pot and boil until the potatoes are very soft and the liquid is mostly absorbed, about 30 minutes. – After 30 minutes my potatoes were still somewhat firm and the liquid was absorbed.  I added about a 1/2c of water and covered.  It took another 15ish minutes for the potatoes to soften.

In the meantime, saute the leeks, chorizo (if using) and garlic (if using fresh) over med-high heat in a little oil with the cumin until you can smell it halfway out the door.  Then add the remaining cider vinegar, chili pepper, the black bean and the garlic (if using dry).  Turn the heat down to medium, cover the pan and take a break until the potatoes are done.

When the potatoes are finished, mash them, leaving a fair number of lumps.  Fold the beans and 1 cup of the cheese into the potatoes.  Fill the tortillas with about a handful of filling, roll and pack tightly into a lightly greased 9×13 pan.  Top the enchiladas with the remaining cheese, and bake at 375 for 25 minutes, or until the cheese starts to bubble.  After it’s finished baking, broil for about 5 minutes, to get the cheese really golden brown and toasty.  – Mine baked and was golden in the 25 minutes flat.  I didn’t need to broil at all.

Serve hot with lots of salsa, sour cream, cilantro and napkins.

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cartoon-strawberry-9This was a little less enchilada and a little more baked flauta.  As you can see from the picture, I used a whole package of tortillas, 11 total; with another scoop or two of filling left over.  The sweet potato and the oniony leeks are a great combo.  The taste had melded much better the next day.  In the future making this exact recipe, I’d make the filling the day before and roll the enchiladas the next day.

What I think I’d do in the future is cut down to 1 large sweet potato, add in a cup to cup and a half of shredded chicken and cover the enchiladas in the ranchero sauce from the Black Bean & Enchilada recipe, then cover with the 2 cups of cheese.