Want to do something creative with Brussels sprouts this holiday season? Try this show-stopping soup starter!
I can’t remember the first time I had a Brussels sprout, I just know that I was a sprout lover when sprout-loving wasn’t cool. It seems they were ignored for most of my lifetime. However, Brussels sprouts have now become an “it” vegetable. I think the worldwide love affair began when a food genius somewhere decided to roast them. Kudos to you, Food Genius!
There’s cream-of-everything-else soup, so why not cream of Brussels sprout soup? “Cream of” soups are easy and elegant and once you make them yourself, you’ll never buy canned cream soup again.
The basic technique I follow for most cream soups is to cook onion in butter and oil (oil is needed so the butter doesn’t burn), then add garlic, vegetable or chicken broth followed by the green veggie I’m using. I bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until the veggies are tender–about 20 minutes. (I like to simmer uncovered so the flavors concentrate.) Typically cream, half-and-half or milk is then added.
For a light cheesy touch, I will often use ricotta cheese instead. Puree until smooth in a food processor, blender or in the pot with an immersion blender (An immersion blender is highly recommended so you’re not transferring hot liquids!). Season to taste with salt and black pepper and voila!
Depending upon the cream soup you’re making, alcohol such as wine or sherry or acid such as lemon juice is a nice touch. For example, sherry is amazing with mushrooms. However, when you’re working with green vegetables, alcohol and acids can turn the color of your soup a not-very-attractive drab green so it’s best to avoid them. Just sayin’!
I top this creamy masterpiece with thinly sliced Brussels sprouts sauteed in a little bit of butter then seasoned with salt and pepper and…..these Butter and Turbinado Toasted Almonds! These almonds are my new favorite thing! They’re super easy, not overly sweet and also make a great salad topper. They’re kinda candied….but not. When they cool, they’re kinda like brittle….but not. No matter what, you’re going to love them!
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (reserve 4 sprouts for garnish)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1/3 cup ricotta cheese, whole or part-skim
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
- Heat 2 tablespoons butter and oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Add the onion, reduce heat to medium and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until onion is softened, being careful not to brown it.
- Add the garlic and all but 4 of the Brussels sprouts. Stir to coat with the fat. Add the broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are very tender.
- Add the ricotta cheese and puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Keep warm.
- Thinly slice the remaining Brussels sprouts.
- In a small skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Add the sliced Brussels sprouts and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until tender, being careful not to brown them. Season with salt and black pepper.
- Heat the butter in a small non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the almonds and the sugar and cook, stirring often until the almonds being to brown slightly. (They can burn very quickly!)
- Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate, spread out slightly (it's okay if they're touching) and let cool.
- Serve soup topped with some of the cooked sliced Brussels sprouts and some of the almonds.