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Oct 15, 2014
From Half Baked Harvest: Extra Flakey Broccoli Cheddar Soup Mini Pies
There is cheese and flakey puff pastry and umm, everyone’s most favorite soup, broccoli cheddar. I actually know people who do not eat broccoli, but eat broccoli cheddar soup. It’s just that good and it’s kind of always been my favorite, ever since my first bread bowl soup back into my childhood days when there was actually a Panera within driving distance.
But then last year I made my own twist on broccoli cheddar soup and I have to say, my curried version with butternut squash and goat cheese totally rivals Panera’s.
BUT there is still something to be said about classic broccoli cheddar. It never fails.
You know what IS a big fail. When you go to start in on the giant pile of dishes you stacked up throughout the day, only to find out there is no water. None. Totally dry, zero water. Notta.
My dad decided, at around three o’clock on Monday, that since he had the day off of work for Columbus Day, he’d start in on cleaning out our water tank. Since we get our water from a well, we have a water storage tank… and well it hasn’t been looking so pretty lately. So he decided Monday at three would be a good time to clean it – meaning he shut off the water for hours. FYI, cooking and cleaning the kitchen is honestly impossible without water.
Now most people would go do something else, and they did, but if you know anything about me, than you know that leaving the kitchen a complete mess until nine o’clock at night was a miserable experience for me. Like I never want to have to do that again. All I could think about was how the kitchen was just sitting there dirty. Yes, I am admittedly so freaking crazy, but I just really like a clean kitchen. It’s one-hundred percent a control thing. I figure I can’t possibly manage to keep the whole house clean with all the people we have in and out of here every day, but I can keep the kitchen clean… unless I don’t have water – and then I am screwed and stressed.
Ugh. I am so nuts. Let’s just talk about these pies now.
I know pies are typically a sweet thing, but I gotta say that pies of the savory variety are totally delicious!
I didn’t want these to literally just be broccoli and cheddar cheese. I wanted them to be creamy and super flavorful, so I went with a thick soup. I know it seems like it would be hard to stuff soup into these little pies, but when you simmer the soup down and thicken it, you get all that flavor, but end up with the consistency of a thick cheese sauce. And obviously that is delicious.
I guess it is a little more work than if you where to just stuff in some broccoli + cheddar cheese, but I promise it’s not hard. You can even make them in advance and then bake them when you’re ready for them. They’d be perfect for holiday entertaining. Just thinkin ahead for ya.
You will not end up using all of the soup in the pies, only about half, but that is totally OK because the other half should be used for dunking. Yes, dunking. Do it.
Also, what is it about mini things that are just so cute? I am a sucker for anything mini. Plus mini means you get more than one, and we all can love that.
1-2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (plus 2 cups water to thin)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to your taste
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt + pepper
2-3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten
flakey salt, for serving
Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the onion + garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Add 1 cup broth, the broccoli, mushrooms, cayenne and nutmeg, then season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 15-20 minutes.
Once the broccoli is tender, remove at least half of it from the the soup. Puree the remaining soup in batches in a blender until chunky-smooth. Return the soup to the pot. Add back the reserved broccoli.
Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until melted. Simmer the soup 10-minutes or until the soup is very thick. You want the soup to be more like a stew and not thin at all. Remove from the heat. Scoop out about half of the soup into a heat-proof bowl. Place the bowl of soup in the fridge for 30 minutes (or the freezer for 15). Return the remaining soup still in the pot back to the stove. Stir in the remaining 1 cup chicken broth. Keep the soup warm for serving or allow to cool and save for lunch tomorrow!!
While the soup in the fridge cools, lay the thawed puff pastry sheets out flat on a floured work surface. Cut large circles out of the pastry with a ring cutter, about 4 per pastry sheet. Roll up the scraps of pastry dough and roll them back out to cut more circles. Brush each circle with the beaten egg on the outer edge of half of the circle.
Once the soup has cooled and is thick, spoon 2-4 tablespoons of the soup into the center of each round of pastry dough. Fold the dough over to cover the filling, making a semi-circle. Use the ends of a fork to seal the edges together. Place the pies on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Repeat with the rest of the pastry dough. When all of the pies are on the baking sheet, cut air holes in the top of each pie and then brush the tops with egg wash. Sprinkle with a little cheddar cheese. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until puffed and nicely browned. Serve warm with the remaining soup for dipping!
*These can be fully assembled and then either kept in the fridge until ready to bake or frozen (uncooked). To bake frozen pies, de-thaw overnight, bake as directed.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup Mini Pies, soup + pie – pure awesomeness.