Cream of Broccoli Soup with Leftover Ham
If I get to my local supermarket early enough in the morning I can benefit from price-slashed fresh produce that’s perfectly acceptable for soups or sauces. I did that yesterday – I bought 2 enormous heads of broccoli from their “Basic” line for about 40-pence each.
Soup tonight, I thought to myself. And the New Year’s ham can go into it! And the leftover studs can be used to thicken the soup! Fun. Cheap food and using up leftovers – I love that.
When I make soup, I don’t buy the best or most beautifully shaped vegetables, particularly if the whole thing is destined for a quick whizzy-whirl with my handblender or food processor. I go for cheap and cheerful, and depend on flavours and spices to make it special.
These ingredients and amounts should be adjusted and tweaked to suit what’s in your fridge and what tastes good to you. Soup shouldn’t have written rules, in my opinion. Soup inspires creativity.
Cream of Broccoli Soup with Ham and Cheddar
- 600-700g broccoli stems and florets cut into small chunks
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 large leftover cooked potato, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 teaspoon smoky paprika
- 600-800ml hot chicken stock
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 100ml single cream
- leftover cubed ham
- grated cheddar cheese
Broccoli soup is easy. I cut all the broccoli stems into small chunks, and put the florets tips aside until the very end of the cooking time. I chop up 1 large cooked and peeled potato, an onion and 2 garlic cloves, and toss those into an old pot with a tablespoon of olive oil. Heat, stir constantly so the onion and garlic don’t brown or catch on the pan. When the onion is translucent, add 1/2 teaspoon of smoky paprika. Stir well to combine. Now add the broccoli stems, stir to combine with the potato, onion and garlic. Next, add enough hot chicken stock (or vegetable stock) to just cover the broccoli. Bring up to a boil, and simmer for about 10-minutes until they are knife-tip-tender. Add the broccoli florets, stir well, add more hot chicken broth to cover. Bring back up to a boil, and then simmer for 5-minutes. Add 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg for a nice rounded flavour. Use a handblender to blitz everything to a smooth consistency. Add 100ml cream, blitz again. Taste and adjust seasoning (more salt, etc). If the soup is too thick, add a bit more hot stock.
The nutmeg and smoky paprika give this soup an added warming depth that black pepper just can’t achieve. The heat in paprika varies, so start with 1/4 teaspoon, taste, and increase from there to suit your preference. Added grated cheddar just before serving is also tasty and quite classic for broccoli soup. It can however cause the soup to turn quite salty, so if you’re adding cheddar, hold back on the salt until after adding the cheese. Cubed ham is tasty, too, but again caution with the salt. I used the remainder of our New Year’s ham in the soup yesterday. Nice. Really nice.