Broccoli, Sharp Cheddar and Five Herb Soup with Peppered Cornbread

AND NEW KITCHEN GADGETS:

While in Laramie, Wyoming I happened upon several great finds in Mimi’s consignment shop – the most exciting of which is this fantastic fish cast iron muffin pan! It’s made by the company Lodge from the U.S. I’m a big fan of cast iron cookware, and have quite a few pieces I use often, including heart shaped and cornstick muffin pans, various sizes of fry pans and a heavy Dutch oven, perfect for stews and gumbo.

the fantastic fish muffin pan

I vowed upon purchase to make use of it just as soon as I could.

So after a long grateful day back home in the garden…

hot times in the garden, Paonia, Colorado

I switched the swamp cooler on to full blast and sat down in the kitchen to contemplate…

in the kitchen – where menus are conjured

Well, there was LOTS of broccoli….What is remarkable about the broccoli plant is the continuous flowerettes which offer themselves up for months after the large center stalk is harvested. I had such a quantity of these when I came back from my trip that I decided to make a simple, luscious soup for dinner. So many flowerettes are still coming I will likely make it again and freeze.

Broccoli, Sharp Cheddar and Five Herb Soup

Recipe flexible and unmeasured (I’m eyeing it out for you) – as usual with most things in my kitchen…

  • 5-6 cups chopped fresh broccoli
  • 1/4 – 1/3 c. chopped fresh chives
  • 2-3 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 c. minced fresh herbs – I used basil, rosemary, oregano, sage
  • 4 – 5 c. milk – dairy or unsweetened almond or soy
  • about 2 c. grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • a big dollop organic sour cream – 1/2 c. or so
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Melt butter in soup pot over low heat, add broccoli and and chives, and saute, stirring occasionally, until broccoli is bright green and chives are fragrant. Pour in milk. Raise heat to medium, add rest of herbs and let gently boil until broccoli is just tender. Stir in sour cream and grated cheddar, blending as cheese melds with the liquid. Taste, then salt and pepper as desired. Puree about half the soup in a food processor or blender, then blend back into the soup pot. Wonderful re-heated, and – great frozen then thawed in the middle of winter.

fresh broccoli flowerettes, chunks of sharp Utah cheddar along with the herbs: chives, rosemary, oregano, sage and basil

gently sauteeing broccoli and chives in plenty of butter

stirring in the cheddar

simmer awhile to let the herbs lend their dimension to the soup

Meanwhile, it’s time to make the cornbread –

buttering the fish pan

Peppered Cornbread   makes about 15 muffins      We’re talking gluten free here! To make with wheat or spelt flour, simply replace the 1 cup gluten free blend with your flour of choice, and omit the xanthun gum.

  • 1 c. gluten free flour blend ( 1/3 brown rice flour, 1/3 sorghum flour, 1/3 tapioca flour – I blend 1 lb. of each together to have on hand)
  • 1 c. finely ground yellow (or blue) cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp. ground pepper, or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp. xanthun gum (binder)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. milk ( I like unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1/4 c. quality oil
  • 1 tbsp. honey, or sugar

Preheat oven to 425. Whisk together dry ingredients. Make well in center and add rest of ingredients. Stir until just blended. Pour into buttered muffin pans. Bake 20 to 24 minutes, until cornbread is lightly browned. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes before turning out.

making the cornbread batter

how will they turn out??

peppered cornbread fish straight out of the oven

returning about half of the soup, pureed, into the pot

With the soup blended and simmering on low heat, turn the muffins out of their pans:

basket of cornbread hearts and fish

My light dinner – the soup is rich with cheddary, sour creamy herb flavor, and I’m entranced with the fish muffins! I’m not sure any recipe would allow the full detail of the molds to be seen after baking, but I’m thinking with a fish dinner some evening with friends they would be excellent!

The broccoli soup, peppered cornbread and butter and a scattering of tomatoes

mmmm — and thinking lemon zest along with the pepper next time

Thanks for traveling along this sweet kitchen garden journey with me. Happy eating!

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