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What’s cooking today: Broccoli and Cheddar soup with Parmesan croutons

Tony Jackman’s broccoli and Cheddar soup made with amasi and finished with Parmesan croutons, served in a W.H. Grindley vintage soup bowl. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

We’ve had a cold snap lately in the Eastern Cape Midlands, where the hot weather kicks in on the 15th of October, like clockwork. So, one more shoulder season soup recipe before it gets hellish hot around here.

The vintage bowl I chose to serve this soup in belies its contemporary style. Amasi (fermented milk, or sour milk) is being used more and more by inventive chefs in all sorts of dishes. It’s quite acidic and slightly sour in the way of sour cream and is often compared with cottage cheese in flavour. I liked what it added to a broccoli and cheese soup.

Ingredients

1 large onion, chopped

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 celery sticks, diced

2 leeks, cut in half lengthwise and then chopped

300 g broccoli, the hardest parts of the stems and core removed

1 litre vegetable stock

500 ml amasi

250 g Cheddar cheese, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

1 heaped tsp cornflour dissolved in 2 Tbsp milk

1 slice of day-old white bread or crust

3 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp finely grated Parmesan

Parsley for garnishing

Method

Sauté the chopped onion in olive oil for 10 minutes on a low heat, stirring, then add the garlic, celery and leeks and continue cooking gently for another 5 minutes or so.

Add the broccoli florets (with some of the stems but not the harder parts) and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes more.

Add the vegetable stock, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a moderate simmer. Let it cook for 7 minutes or so to tenderise the broccoli without overcooking it.

Blend the soup, either in batches in a food processor or in the pot using a hand-held blender.

Heat it in the pot and add the amasi, stir, and cook for 3 minutes more.

Stir in the grated Cheddar cheese until it has melted and combined.

Stir cornflour into cold milk thoroughly, then add it to the soup on a moderate heat and stir for 5 minutes while it thickens.

Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Cube the bread. Melt butter in a pan and fry the croutons until golden. Transfer them to a bowl, grate Parmesan in, and stir. Garnish the soup with the croutons and chopped parsley. DM/TGIFood

To enquire about Tony Jackman’s book, foodSTUFF (Human & Rousseau) please email him at [email protected]

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