This recipe has been in my binder for several years, and I’ve hesitated to post it mainly because of the emotional tie it has to me. I’ve named it in honor of my late step-father, Gene.
Gene acquired a very unhappy, rebellious teenage girl when he met my mother, yet he never made me feel unwelcome. It took time, but we found common ground. He taught me how to change a tire in the rain because that’s when he said getting a flat tire would more than likely happen. And he chased away a boyfriend who showed up an hour and a half late for a date one night, telling the boy I was way out of his league and to try again when he could show more respect for his daughter.
The last time my mom and Gene came to visit my family was the Christmas of 2012. Gene was suffering from the advanced stages of cancer, and he had very little to no appetite. I made him this soup, hoping the warm, hearty richness and smooth flavor would entice him to eat and much to my relief, it did. He had two bowls of the soup that night.
Gene passed away less than a year later, but the memory of him lives on in my heart, and in every steaming pot of this soup I make.
6 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
4 leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced
1 large bunch of broccoli crown, coarsely chopped
1 stick, reduced-fat, unsalted butter
6 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup reduced-fat half and half
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Turkey Bacon Bits
1) Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a deep soup pot. Add the broccoli, leeks, and potatoes and cooked 8-10 minutes stirring frequently.
2) Reduce the heat to medium, and add the vegetable broth, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Bring the pot to a low boil. Cook the soup for 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft.
3) Reduce the heat to simmer and using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Stir in the half and half and cook for an additional 3 minutes until heated through.
4) To serve, spoon the soup into bowls, topped with the crouton crumbles and turkey bacon bits.