When it comes to soup, I must confress I am a dipper. My husband enjoys eating a hot liquid, the process of it, the way it feels in his mouth, so comforting and delicious. But myself? A dipping MACHINE–if there is a piece of bread/toast/cracker/wafer within reaching distance, I will probably slather it with something delicious and dip it in the soup. I dip, therefore I am. I used to feel bad about this fact, and generally avoided eating soup because I figured if I can’t simply enjoy eating soup sans carbs, then I shouldn’t eat it at all. Clearly, I was drunk. I now realize that soup is an equal-opportunity food, open to both those who enjoy it’s liquid aspects as well as those who enjoy it’s dip-ability. Ain’t no shame in my dipping game. In light of my intense love of dipping things in soup, my soups need to be extremely flavorful. You don’t want to be wasting your bread by dipping it in some crap-tastic soup, trust me. Crap on toast tastes like crap. I just so happened to find some broccoli on sale this week, so I decided to create a soup with it. I started with this recipe from Epicurious.com, a pretty basic cream of broccoli soup. Then I made a few changes so it would taste better, like substituting more homemade chicken stock in place of water, and adding red pepper flakes and a bit of Parmesan. I love red pepper flakes, because it creates a soup that isn’t immediately spicy, but it has a heat that slowly creeps up on you and takes over. It’s delicious!
At that point, the soup was good, but it needed a bit of a kick, just a little push from just-okay land into hot damn, slap-yo-mama good soup land. This was a case for my good friend, bacon.
For the toasts, I look a little ciabatta bread, toasted it with some olive oil, s & p, and melted marinated mozzarella on top. A perfectly crisp accompaniment to my spicy broccoli soup with bacon.
~LTG! ****************************************** Leena’s Spicy Broccoli Soup w/ Bacon and Mozzarella Toasts Makes 4 cups of soup, or two dinner servings ? 2 cloves of minced garlic ? 3/4 cup chopped onion ? 1 carrot, sliced thin ? 2 teaspoons mustard seeds ? 2 tablespoons olive oil ? 3/4 pound broccoli, chopped coarse (about 3 1/2 cups) ? 2 1/4 cups chicken broth ? 3/4 cup milk ? 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste ? Red pepper flakes to taste ? Parmesan to taste *Saute the first five ingredients together along with some salt, pepper and red pepper flakes until onion is soft, 5 minutes. *Add broccoli and chicken broth and simmer until broccoli is tender. *Puree soup in batches in blender until smooth, adding milk to thin out as needed. *Reheat soup in heavy pot, adding lemon juice, parmesan, salt and red pepper flakes to taste. Serve with crumbled, crispy bacon & your favorite dipper!