SUPER SIMPLE CREAM OF SPINACH SOUP
Here is my recipe for a rich and delicious soup. This is very flexible because you can make it healthy or vegetarian with simple substitutions. You can also use this basic method for other cream soups by changing the vegetable. Go ahead and experiment!
Ingredients:1 quart of quality chicken* stock. I prefer the organic boxed ones.
1 quart of half & half**
1 large package frozen chopped or 1 pound fresh spinach
1 large white onion sliced
2 stalks celery chopped
1/4 cup flour
1 stick butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch fresh grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
In a 4 quart saucepan combine butter and olive oil and melt over medium heat. Add onion and celery and sauté until transparent while stirring occasionally. Stir in salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, parsley and thyme. Remove from heat and stir in flour to form a light roux but do not let get any darker than pale peanut butter. Add the stock and stir to combine. Return to medium heat, add spinach and let simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes check to see that all vegetables are soft.
Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. Blend the soup. I prefer to use an immersion [stick] blender in the pot but you can blend batches in a regular blender. Just be careful not to fill the blender pitcher more than 1/2 full and put a dish towel over the top so the hot liquid won't spatter and burn you!
Return the soup to the stove and add the half & half. Heat slowly until just before the boil. Remove from heat, add grated nutmeg and grated cheese.
Serve with extra grated cheese at the table and enjoy!
* substitute vegetable stock for vegetarian
** substitute fat free half & half for healthier soup