What better way to start off the New Year than with a recipe involving my favorite Christmas story? The Grinch was always my favorite one to watch on TV.
Here's the story behind the recipe. It was late. Everyone was hungry. I was tired and didn't want to cook. So I started scrounging. I had leftover ham, some frozen broccoli, a couple of packages of noodles, and some other random bits of food lying around. I thought, what about a cream sauce with broccoli and ham to go on the noodles? My kids love that. But wait, I'm trying to avoid dairy. Maybe if I cream the broccoli with a blender... That's much too runny. How can I thicken it? Hm, cornstarch didn't work so well. *cue light bulb* I have Cream of Rice in the cupboard that really needs to be used. It thickens things.
I'm lucky I didn't end up with green splatters across the ceiling the way I was cooking. It didn't end up as a sauce, more of a soup. But it was much tastier than I expected. My kids ate it and asked for more. It still needs tweaking, but for now, here's the Grinch, creamed.
Creamed Grinch Soup
1 16 oz package frozen broccoli (chopped or chunks or whatever, it won't matter in a few minutes)
2 c. frozen cauliflower, if you've got it
4 c. hot water
1/4 c. Better-Than-Bouillon, chicken flavor
1/3 c. Cream of Rice granule thingies
1 c. chopped ham (spiced glazed spiral cut adds a lot of nice flavors to this soup)
Dump broccoli, cauliflower, water, and bouillon in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Boil for a couple of minutes until the vegetables are mostly tender. Use a stick blender to cream the heck out of them. Be careful not to splatter yourself because that stuff is boiling hot and will burn you. (The marks have mostly faded...)
Sprinkle the cream of rice over the boiling mixture, stirring the whole time. Use the blender to cream out any lumps. Cook and stir until the soup is thick and creamy. Stir in the ham. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve. Threaten children who make fun of your strange cooking methods.
Feel free to add to this soup. Some things that come to mind:
Chopped green onions
Cheese - parmesan is really good, or a sharp cheddar (unless you're trying to avoid dairy)
Fresh spinach or chard, just to add to the green color