Usually at the end of the holiday season, after grazing at more buffets than one thought possible, the idea of eating another celery stick, another broccoli floret or yet another leaf of endive does not appeal one bit.
Many hosts face this problem: a platter half filled with subtly wilting crudités sitting atop the coffee table–and the party is over.
A popular “save” for these fresh foods is the peerless Vegetable Stock. Vegetable stock is a great way to use up the leftover food, save the dollars invested and derive some healthy meals out of the foods.
However, I like to get right on top of things and use those vegetables while they are still fresh. One of the easiest recipes for leftover crudités is soup. A collection of food from party platters usually is enough to provide most of the ingredients necessary.
My favorite leftover crudités recipe is as simple as it gets!
2 tablespoons butter
1 celery rib, chopped
2 carrot sticks, chopped (not whole carrots, remember these are party
1 whole medium onion, chopped
1 smashed garlic clove, peeled
1 russet potato, peeled and diced
6 cups homemade (hopefully) chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
4 cups broccoli florets (trim any dried stem ends)
1 spring fresh thyme
Salt and black pepper to taste
Leftover cubes of cheddar cheese or grated Monterrey jack
(or grated, imported gruyère cheese)
In a large pot, over medium high heat, melt the butter.
Add the celery, carrot and onions. Sauté briefly until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the smashed garlic and potatoes. Stir to coat with butter.
Add the 6 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Add the 4 cups broccoli florets and simmer until they are bright green and tender. Be careful not to overcook the broccoli because it will turn slightly bitter in flavor and become an unappealing khaki green color. At this point, add the sprig of thyme and let it simmer along with the broccoli. Remove the thyme before you blend the soup!
When the broccoli florets are knife tender, turn off the heat and remove the pot from the stove. Cool slightly. (Are you certain that you removed the sprig of thyme?) Using an immersion blender, a blender or a food processor, puree the soup in small batches until smooth and creamy.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
When you serve these puréed crudités as soup, only you will know the simple leftover crudités secret. You can also make this soup using florets of cauliflower but I reduce the stock to 4 1/2 cups stock and add 1 1/2 cups white wine to equal 6 cups liquid and add some grated nutmeg.
For a Gluten Free Soup, be sure to use gluten free or homemade stock.
Diet Buster: If you choose to do so, you can garnish this soup with those leftover cubes of cheese from the crudités platters or use some freshly grated cheese. Some of the folks in our household also like to melt the cheese into the soup when they reheat it.
*Note there is no cream in this cream soup. The potato gives enough of a creamy body to the soup that you can omit the cream (FAT) and enjoy a healthy yet rich tasting soup as you embark on your after holiday dieting.