Cheesy Veggie Soup

I linked to a broccoli cheese soup in my meal plan but then I went off-script and made my own based on what veg was wilting in my fridge. The result was fantastic so I’m writing it down so I can make it again. This soup isn’t packed full of nutrition but it’s nutritious-ish and sometimes that’s the best I can do.

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Cheesy Veggie Soup
serves 6 - 8

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (if you scrape out the pulpy bits and seeds, you lose a lot of the heat)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 heaping Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups cream or whole milk
4 cups veggie broth
2 heads broccoli, finely chopped (approximately 4 cups)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Melt butter in large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, carrots, bell pepper, jalapeno, and cook, stirring often, until veg is softened, 7 - 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute or so until fragrant. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about two minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan so it doesn’t start to burn. I used my enamelled cast iron dutch oven and my flattop wooden spoon to make this soup and this combo works really well.

Add cream (or milk if using) and broth and continue to cook, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any bits stuck to the bottom (that’s where the flavour hides!) Stir in broccoli. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes until everything is sufficiently tender and soup is thickened. 

Buzz with an immersion blender until smooth (or ladle into a blender and blend until smooth, carefully because hot liquids and blenders are terrifying).

Stir in cheese, mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, and add salt and pepper to taste.

We enjoyed this topped with a little bacon and served with sourdough toast and it was decadent. Grady refused to try it but Poppy loved it. I’m not sure if it will freeze well and I don’t think I’m going to get the chance to experiment because we keep eating it.

Vegetarian Barley Shepherd's Pie

This vegetarian dish requires a lot of chopping but makes a large quantity and freezes well. I'm the only one who eats it in my house so the initial prep time is well worth the eight dinner-sized portions I end up with. For more protein, throw in a can of beans or a pound of cooked ground beef if you're not concerned with keeping it vegetarian. I topped mine with shredded cheddar and sliced avocado and it was absolutely lovely.

Ingredients
2 Tablespoons olive oil
6 cups (approximately) diced veg (I used: 1 onion, 3 carrots, 3 ribs celery, 1 golden beet, 1 parsnip, 1 turnip, and 8 white mushrooms) 
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce (omit or use vegan if you're cooking for strict vegetarians. Traditional Worcestershire Sauce contains anchovies.)
1 cup dry barley, prepared per package
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
1 cup veggie broth

Topping Ingredients
4 cups (approximately) peeled sweet potato chunks (I have no idea how to accurately quantify sweet potatoes. Telling you I used three sweet potatoes doesn't really do it. In my experience, sweet potatoes range in size from the size of a miniature banana to the size of a small baby. All I can tell you is this: I cut my sweet potatoes into walnut-sized chunks and I had about 4 cups)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
water and salt to boil
1/4 cup butter
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 9x13 baking dish.

Cook barley per package instructions. Fluff and set aside.

Put sweet potatoes and 2 cloves chopped garlic in pot and cover with cold water. Add about a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover, and cook until fork tender. Drain. Mash with butter while still hot so the butter melts. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in large skillet. Sauté veg over med-high heat until onion is translucent and veg is tender, 7 - 10 minutes.

Add garlic, thyme, salt, pepper and Worcestershire Sauce and cook for another minute until garlic is fragrant. Stir in prepared barley, edamame, and broth. Spoon into baking dish and pat down gently.

Spread mashed sweet potatoes evenly over barley mixture.

Bake 20-30 minutes until heated through and topping is lightly browned.

Serves 8 as a main dish.

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