Yep, that’s toasts, plural.
Are you as happy as I am that “toasts” are having such a moment? (And have been for months and months and months?) I, for one, am ecstatic about it. Everything tastes better piled on a slice of toasted bread.
But toasts are not exactly a meal (even though I regularly make a meal out of them). Add toasts to this cream of broccoli soup, though, and you have a meal even my mom would approve of. You have your veggies, your cheese, your TOAST, and it’s a soul-warming dinner (or lunch) for these not-so-warm nights.
Or if you had several handfuls of toffee bits with for lunch and you need vegetables for dinner to compensate, this is perfect.
In terms of ingredients, this soup is very simple.
But it terms of flavor it’s complex—the thyme adds a lot of warmth to the broccoli and the Gruyère gives the soup just a touch of nuttiness. And with a reasonably short ingredient list, it comes together quickly—which is good, because all that toffee is making me queasy. I need something healthy, STAT!
- 3 slices whole wheat bread
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 2 small cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese*
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 5 cups broccoli florets
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups milk
- Stir minced garlic into melted butter. Toast bread slices in a toaster. Spread (or spoon or brush) 1/3 of garlic butter on each slice of bread. Place buttered toast on a large baking sheet.
- Sprinkle each slice with a pinch of paprika and top with 1/3 of the cheese. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan and sauté onion over medium heat until soft, not brown, about 5 minutes, stirring periodically to ensure even cooking. Add chicken stock, broccoli, and thyme. (Crush the thyme a bit with your fingers before you add it.) Simmer over medium heat until vegetables are tender, about 12-15 minutes.
- When broccoli is soft, place about 1/3 of the soup mixture in a blender or food processor and blend until mixture is smooth. (Be careful doing this as the heated liquid will expand more than you think.) Repeat with remaining soup until it’s all pureed. Pour into a mixing bowl, stir in Gruyère, and set aside.
- Start the broiler for the toasts.
- Continuing with the soup: Melt butter in a large, heavy pot over medium-low heat. Slowly whisk in flour, salt, and pepper. Cook, whisking constantly, to form a smooth paste, until the mixture turns slightly golden. Add milk, continuing to whisk constantly. Cook until mixture thickens slightly. Add pureed mixture and cook, stirring until heated through.
- Pop the toasts under the preheated broiler until cheese melts, about 1-2 minutes. Cut each slice into quarters.
- Ladle soup into bowls and top each bowl with two cheese toast quarters. Serve immediately.
- *A little more cheese would not be the end of the world here—use more if you’d like.