Rachael Ray really knows how to do soup dippers. I won't lie - sometimes I pick a soup recipe just for the dipper. The soup is just a bonus. That's what happened when I chose to make Broccoli Soup with Ham-and-Swiss Toasts. Make sure you note that this isn't a 30-minute meal, but it is work the extra time! Can you tell I took the photo at night in the Winter? Dark much?
My main change to this recipe was using Ranch dressing on the toasts instead of using mayo. Rach is not quite as anti-mayo as I am, so she slips it into recipes every now and then. However, EDRR's Tracey Seaman apparently doesn't have the same prejudice against mayo, since this recipe calls for a whopping half cup of the stuff. Just typing that made me throw up a little bit. Really, it's that bad. I thought Ranch was a great substitute, although sour cream might work, too. Here's the recipe with my comments in brackets:
Broccoli Soup with Ham-and-Swiss Toasts
From Every Day with Rachael Ray
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 30 min
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
Salt and pepper
2 small yellow-fleshed potatoes, such as yukon gold (10 ounces total), peeled and finely chopped
1 bunch broccoli (about 1 1/4 pounds), chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups shredded Swiss cheese (1 pound)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 thick slice ham (about 1/4 pound), cut into small cubes
1/2 cup mayonnaise [or Ranch dressing, in my case]
One 1-pound loaf ciabatta bread, split and each half cut into quarters [If you can find ciabatta, I think it does make a difference.]
1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the potatoes and 3 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil; lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the broccoli, cover and cook just until tender, about 7 minutes. Using a blender, puree half the soup; [I just stuck my hand blender into the soup pot] combine with the other half. Stir in 2 cups shredded cheese, then stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm over low heat.
2. Preheat the broiler. In a medium bowl, using a fork, combine the remaining 2 cups cheese, the ham and mayonnaise. Season with pepper. Spread the mixture on the bread and broil until bubbly and golden. Serve the toasts with the soup.