The beauty of this soup is that you can change it around to make almost any 'Cream of Vegetable Soup' that you like by simply substituting the spinach for another cooked vegetable.
I made Cream of Spinach this time, but you can use virtually any vegetable; Carrot, Onion, Celery, Artichoke, Potato, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Zucchini, etc.
It's a delicious way to use leftovers, or any veggies that may begin looking a little tired in the vegetable bin, just saute or steam the selected vegetable until tender (if not already cooked) and replace it with the spinach in the recipe below.
No need to cook the spinach first, and if you have an 'already-cooked' vegetable this can be on the table in minutes.
Cream of Whatever-Vegetable-You-Like Soup
Makes about 4 servings, depending upon portion size
1/3 cup butter (or half butter and half oil to make 1/3 cup)
½ of a medium-size yellow or white onion, minced
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper (black or white)
A few gratings from a whole nutmeg (I only use the nutmeg with spinach or chard soup)
4 ½ cups milk (your choice, whole, or low fat)
Note: If I happen to have some chicken stock or broth on hand I substitute a portion of the milk with an equal amount of stock or broth
1 package baby spinach leaves (9 to 12 ounces), or 1 (10 ounce package) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed of some of the excess moisture.
(OR a generous cup or so of another cooked vegetable.)
In a medium-size pot (about 3 quart), saute the onion in the butter (or butter/oil) until soft and translucent.
Stir in flour; add salt, pepper, (and nutmeg, or other herb if you are using). Cook and stir for a minute or so (this helps flour lose its ‘raw’ taste.)
Slowly blend in the milk and cook, stirring over medium heat until bubbly and thickened then stir in the spinach (or other cooked vegetable), until thoroughly heated through (and wilted if using raw spinach.)
Process with an immersion blender, food processor, or standard blender until the soup reaches the consistency you prefer; chunky or perfectly smooth. Taste for seasonings and adjust as necessary.
Note: If you like a thinner soup stir in a little additional milk or chicken broth and heat through. Serve hot.
Extras, but not necessary:
Stir in an additional spoonful of butter, or a bit of heavy cream to enrich soup. Any complementing garnish to brighten up the soup lifts it up a notch.
I really like having a simple and versatile recipe like this in my bag of tricks, it makes a terrific little starter for a meal of simply prepared chicken, fish, or meat. Or served along with a salad it makes a satisfying, light meal. The rich taste belies the fact that it costs so very little to make.
Put on some music,
turn down the lights a bit if you like and add some candles ~
And no one will know your budget-wise secret but you and me. :)