So, I forgot to get potatoes at the store tonight. I wanted to make cream of broccoli soup, but the one that uses cashews for the "cream". I knew the other broccoli soup recipe I like needed potatoes, but I wasn't sure about the other one. And since I didn't buy any potatoes, it turns out the recipe needed two.
I had bought a lot of broccoli though. A LOT. So I thought I'd just try the soup without. It would probably be fine and just be little looser than normal. No big deal. But while I was cutting up all that broccoli, I started to think about what other starchy foods we had in the house. Was there ANYTHING that I could substitute for the potatoes? Why can't you just buy frozen bags of chopped up potatoes for situations like this? And then I realized...you can. In the form of hash browns. Of course, I didn't have any. But I did have something very similar...TATER TOTS.
I'm kind of obsessed with tots. I blame my first trip to Sonic on one of my visits to Austin. That sealed the deal. And while I would prefer to get them from a Sonic, I'm happy to make them at home in my oven. Which means I've usually got some in the freezer. And after tonight, I may make sure they're in there ALL THE TIME.
The nice thing about the tots? No peeling or chopping. I just dumped them in and pretty much went about the recipe as I normally would. I think they might have absorbed a bit more liquid than fresh, non-frozen potatoes do, but they still totally worked. The soup turned out super creamy and thick. I almost could have thinned it out a bit, but decided I didn't want to. It was prefect the way it was.
And now, I'm putting the recipe here. Because I want you to try it (it's vegan and gluten-free!) but mostly so I have easy access to it. Although now I don't need to worry so much about remembering the potatoes. As long as I have tots, I'll be good to go.
Cream of Broccoli Soup
Adapted from Diet for a New World by John Robbins
1 cup raw cashews
5 cups Vegetable stock or veggie bouillon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 medium boiling potatoes (or about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of frozen tater tots)
1 medium onion (white or yellow), finely chopped
1 bunch of broccoli, trimmed and coarsely chopped (about 4.5 cups)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp fine sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Put the cashews and one cup of vegetable stock into a blender and blend until smooth, about 1 minute.
Heat olive oil in a large pot (I use a 4qt Le Creuset) over medium heat. Add onions and saute for a few minutes until they soften a bit and maybe get a little color. Add remaining 4 cups of veg stock and potatoes (or tater tots). Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the broccoli and basil and return to a simmer. Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. (If you're using tots, cook until the broccoli is tender, which still took about 10 minutes.)
Stir in the reserved cashew mixture, the salt, and the pepper and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, transfer about half of the soup to a blender and puree. Return the puree to the pot and stir well. Serve immediately.
At the end of the recipe, instead of dealing with pouring soup into a blender, I use my immersion blender. I just blend until there are a few chunks of broccoli left, so the soup isn't completely smooth (but that's totally up to you - tonight, I blended it until it was smooth).