Wednesday, December 11, 2013

MSG-free Cheesy Broccoli, Potato, Spinach and Ham Soup with Bacon

Nothing drives me crazier than a "Fauxtographer." You know the kind- I'm sure you have 10 Facebook friends who bought a decent camera, started a Facebook page, and all of a sudden started taking money in exchange for pictures taken on the "Auto" setting and edited in PicMonkey. I hesitate to post recipes because I am NOT a food blogger, nor do I claim to be a professional chef or anyone really qualified to be posting recipes online. Honestly, I just have a real passion for real food and I'm a wannabe foodie. So, I'm just making sure you know that I in no way compare myself, or claim to be, in the ranks of actual amazing food bloggers! Ok. We good? (PS, Please don't hate me if you're a pho/faux-tographer).

 One thing that physically makes me sick and guilty is when I eat something that has MSG in it. Monosodium Glutamate, (you can also spot it under its alias as "Savory" or "yeast extract," among others) is basically in everything... cream of ____ soup, those ranch dressing packets, pretty much anything powdered, most chicken broth... anyways- last week I made a Japanese "schtew" (stew) that was delicious, but I made it using the little bricks of stew mix that my mom gave me. It just felt bad eating it. :( These things didn't bother me before... until I took that nutrition class last spring! Now I am kindof paranoid about food and make my own salad dressing or make stuff like chocolate syrup that doesn't have all that yucky stuff in it that I can't read (#I'mTHATgirl).

Which brings me to this soup. After last week I was craving something that didn't make me feel guilty (in the MSG-laden way, not the creamy, cheesy, and bacony way- though let's be honest, I don't often feel too guilty eating these things most of the time). This fit the bill, especially after walking around frozen campus all day. Cheesy, hearty, swirls of spinach and chunks of ham.. it's soul-warming food! Ok, go make it... now.

Cheesy Broccoli, Potato, Spinach and Ham Soup with Bacon
From the Kitchen of Lisa Childs

1/2 C. Butter (1 stick)
1 Medium Onion (diced)
1/2 C. Flour
4 C. Low sodium, MSG-free Chicken broth (2 cans)
1 Pint Half & Half or Whole milk
2-3 Heads and stems fresh Broccoli
1 Medium/large Russet Potato (small dice)
1-2 Big handfuls Spinach leaves
1-2 C. Ham (cooked and diced)
2-3 C. Sharp or Medium Cheddar Cheese (shredded)
1 C. Sour Cream
Bacon, cooked and crumbled
~2 Cloves minced Garlic
Nutmeg, Salt, Pepper

Saute butter and onion in stock pot until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add flour to make a roux and cook until completely combined and nutty. Slowly add the first can of chicken broth, whisking continuously to avoid lumps in roux. Add the rest of the chicken broth, half and half,  garlic, spices, ham and veggies. Cover and let simmer on low for 30-40 minutes or until veggies are tender. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream and cheese (if you don't like your broccoli to be super tender and fall apart, you can steam it ahead of time until al-dente and add it in at the end). Top with additional cheese and crumbled bacon. Serve in a fresh bread bowl or with a loaf of bread. Enjoy!  

**Just a disclaimer, this is a pretty thick soup. My husband likes soup thicker and chunkier than most people, so if you like it to be a little more "soupy" then you can add more chicken broth or milk :) 

I LOVE making soup because it is so easy! You can adapt it to your needs and wants and it tastes delicious every time. You can make this soup easily vegetarian by omitting ham and bacon and adding more potatoes and carrots. Don't want to indulge too much? Omit sour cream and just put a tablespoon on each serving. Don't like nitrates? Omit the bacon all together (I put the bacon on top specifically for Brett). I also make similar soup to this with more veggies and chicken. I love making chicken noodle soup with home made broth and home made noodles too- I'll have to post that recipe another time. This soup is wonderful because you can add or subtract or substitute anything and it still turns out delicious. Perfect for this blistering cold weather we have!

Happy Holidays! Stay warm, people!

1 comment:

  1. This looks delicious!! Pure comfort food for Wintertime.