>Dishing up Maine by Brooke Dojny

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Tonight’s dinner recipe comes from Dishing up Maine by Brooke Dojny.  I picked this book up when I was vacationing in Bar Harbor with my mother about four years ago.  We had such a great time, and the food everywhere we went was so tasty, we felt like this book would be a great memento to bring home with us.  Of course, I hadn’t tried any of the recipes in it until today (best laid plans and all).

The forecast for the evening was snow (yes, even in Georgia, we occasionally get a little of the white stuff falling from the sky – little being the operative word here).  I wanted something warm and hearty for dinner, and I’d been needing to use some potatoes that were on the verge of spoiling.  I decided on this Aroostook Potato, Cheese, and Broccoli Soup with some Cheddar Drop Biscuits (a recipe of my own devising).
Since Broccoli is my 4-year-old’s favorite veggie, I thought this would be a big hit.  He actually did eat most of it, but wasn’t super crazy about it.  I think next time I’ll put more cheese in….
The recipe says to mash half of your potatoes by hand once they’re cooked to thicken the soup, but I used my immersion blender intead, to get a more homogeneous consistency (again, for the benefit of the little one).
Additionally, I baked up some little biscuits to accompany this thick-n-hearty soup.
The texture of the soup was a little grainy – perhaps I overcooked or overblended the potatoes.  Next time I might try a different broccoli cheese soup recipe, but I believe I will give this book another try.  The Venison with Cranberry-Chipotle Pan Sauce and the Shaker Pork Loin with Apple-Sage Gravy sound particularly intriguing.
Aroostook Potato, Cheese and Broccoli Soup
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups peeled diced all-purpose potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds)
5 cups broccoli florets, coarsely chopped (about 1 pound)
2 cups half-and-half or light cream
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan or soup pot.  Add the onions and cook over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the mustard and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
2. Add the broth and potatoes, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
3.  Using a slotted spoon, remove about a cup of the potatoes to a plate, mash well with a fork, and return to the pot.  (This will thicken the soup).
4.  Add the broccoli and half-and-half and simmer gently (do not boil vigorously) until the broccoli is tender, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat.
5.  Add the cheese and nutmeg and stir until the cheese melts.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
Cheddar Drop Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1. preheat oven to 475
2. grease or spray 24-mini-muffin tin (or two 12-mini-muffin tins)
3. mix all ingredients thoroughly (do not overmix)
4. spoon batter into muffin cups
5. bake for 8-10 minutes
Serve warm
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