Monday, February 13, 2012

Spinach Soup & Making a Roux

Before I left the "nest," my mom taught me to make a roux.  My mom's Broccoli/Spinach Soup and Clam Chowder is my favorite and they both involve making a roux.  She probably said "roux" 20 times and I had never heard that word before that time.  It sounded scary.  It sounded hard. wasn't!  Woot woot!  I LOVE taking this soup to someone on a cold day.'s how to make it.

First off, if you have freezer space you and you love creamed soups....I have some great advice.  Make a bunch of rouxs and freeze them.   Then, whenever you want to make one, it will take  you a fraction of the time.  My mom made a bunch about a year ago and she let me borrow one when I was running behind one day and it was awesome.  I think I am going to take a day this next week and make a bunch of them.  Then I will feel even more like a super mom.  (Something about doing something ahead of time to make things faster makes me feel like a super mom.)

If you want to make a roux ahead of time, here is the recipe:

1 onion, chopped
1 cube butter
1 quart half & half
1 cup flour

This roux is slightly different than the ones in my recipes, but it works still the same and will work with really any creamed soup you want to do. Just add in your "likings" and your good to go.

As for the Broccoli/Spinach Soup we go.

1.  Start by cooking your chopped broccoli or spinach and onion in water.  I always like to add in a handful of chopped carrots too, but that's up to you.  If you are making spinach soup, thaw your spinach and drain it the best you can.  For the broccoli, I like to chop in my food processor and I like it fine but also some small chunks too.  Some people like larger pieces.  Which are you???  Let your heart....or stomach guide you.

2.  When your veggies are soft, you are ready to add in your chicken soup base and water.  I've had people ask me what chicken soup base is.  You can find it in the soup aisle and is right by the boullion cubes.  It's in a tub and is paste like consistency.  As for the water, I usually add about 5 cups (just over a quart).  If you like a thicker soup, do a quart.  If you like a thinner soup, do more.  Keep your heat on and bring to a boil while you start on the next step....making the roux.

3.  Melt a cube of margarine (or butter) in a saucepan and then add in a heaping 3/4 cup of flour.[Please note that if you are making the rouxs to freeze, melt your butter and onion together until the onion is soft.]  You are going to start beating it like crazy.  It's going to look like hundreds of little balls. 

Keep stirring while you add in your evaporated milk and half & half.  Now I'm lazy and I don't like to beat it for so long, so I put the milks in a glass dish and throw it in the microwave for about 2 minutes to speed up the process.  Not necessary but does make it quicker.  Keep beating with the heat on making it smooth and thick.  The heat will continue to make it thicker.  When it is good and thick and pulls away from your pan, it's good to go.

4.  Go ahead and dump your roux in your veggies and stir in until smooth and combined.  When it heated through, take off heat and add 1 cup sour cream (not necessary, but makes it even creamier) and cheese, optional. 

My personal favorite is the spinach (even though normally I am a broccoli eater).  When I first told my kids that it was spinach soup it took me a little while to get them to try a bite.  But as soon as I did, they were asking for seconds and now ask me to make it for dinner.  It's good stuff. 


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