Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cozy in a Bowl

Fall is definitely my favourite season. I love that it means hoodies and jeans, apple picking, and the cool, crisp smell of the air (the next best thing to the smell of snow). The leaves start to change, making the forests seem like they're on fire.

Fall and I are best buds - if I had my way, we'd be together 24/7.

With Fall around, I definitely gravitate towards heartier, homier, stick-to-your-ribs cooking. Stews, casseroles and soups feature prominently around here, giving your insides a great big hug. A couple of weeks ago, I was definitely in a nesting kind of mood, and decided to put together a meal of pure love.

Taking inventory of my pantry, fridge and freezer, I knew I had all the ingredients for Broccoli and 3 Cheese Soup, and decided to put together an Irish Soda Bread to accompany it. The prep work on this meal was quick, and it was really easy to put together. Man oh man, do you get rewarded for your efforts! The bread was dense, with a nice crisp crust, and the soup was cheesy, creamy and just all around delicious. This is definitely going into our Tried and True folder!

Irish Soda Bread
adapted from Joy of Baking by Stephanie Jaworski
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 T granulated white sugar
  • 2 T oats
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (I made my own by combining 1 1/2 T of white vinegar to 1 1/2 cups of skim milk and letting it sit for 5-10 minutes)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and place rack in the centre of oven.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, soda, salt and oats.
  3. Make a well in the centre, and add in most of the buttermilk. Using your hands (or a wooden spoon), mix until you have a soft moist dough. Add in more buttermilk as necessary to acheive said dough.
  4. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface, and knead gently into a 7 inch round that's about 1 inch thick.
  5. Place the round on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper, and with a sharp knife, cut an 'x' into the dough about 1/4 inch deep.
  6. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean. You can also test for doneness by tapping on the bottom of the bread and listening for hollowness.
  7. Serve warm.

Broccoli and Three Cheese Soup
adapted from A Year of Crockpotting
Note: Although this makes what seems to be a lot of soup, it was just enough for E and I to each have two bowls, with about 1/2 cup left over for his lunch the next day. Also, you can use whatever cheese you like in this recipe, so feel free to customize to your tastes.
  • 4 cups no-chicken broth
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 20 oz. frozen broccoli
  • 1/2 large white onion, diced
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1 cup Fontina cheese, grated
  • 1 cup Sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup shredded Casserole Mix cheese
  1. Dice your onion pretty finely, and add to a 6 qt crockpot.
  2. Top with milk, broth and spices, and stir in frozen broccoli.
  3. Cook on high 4-6 hours, or on low for 7-9. You'll know it's ready when the onions are softened. Mine reached this point at about 3 1/2 hours on high.
  4. 30 minutes before serving, stir in your cheeses.
  5. Serve!

I served the soup and bread up with some spiced tomato jam, flavoured with cinnamon and cloves, that we picked up on our honeymoon and some butter.

It was amazing, and one of the best meals I've ever made.


It was just that good.

E and I decided that we could eat this every day, and for the next few months, we'll probably come close.


Donna said...

Soup is my favorite meal and yours sounds so yummy! Can't wait for you to cook for me

Jenn said...

soup looks awesome! i think ill attempt it this weekend!

Min said...

Hi Carly, I'm your Taste & Create partner this month! I just have to ask...was your cheese, um, stringy?
Mine was :(

Carly said...

Hi Min,
I'm thinking the issue with the cheese's stringiness came from using (I'm guessing) pre-shredded cheese - it's normally dusted with an anti-caking agent that makes it melt strangely in liquid.

I didn't use much of that, mostly cheese I shredded myself, which I think is why mine didn't. You are right, it is a thinner soup than the traditional, which can mess with you a bit.

I'm so sorry you didn't like it - I feel somewhat responsible!