BAKED POTATO & BROCCOLI SOUP

BAKED POTATO & BROCCOLI SOUP' This is a hearty soup that is good on the colder days,' says John Claussen, executive chef of the Harvest Restaurant in Cambridge, Mass. 'It's something you could serve with ham sandwiches, or as a first course for dinner guests.... It's not hard to make.' 1 large head of broccoli 3 medium Idaho potatoes 2 medium Spanish onions 2 quarts light chicken stock 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 cup heavy cream Pinch nutmeg Salt and pepper to taste 1 cup grated cheddar cheese French bread for croutons

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Bake potatoes for 45 minutes until cooked. Set aside to cool. Roughly chop all the onions and broccoli (except the woody end of the stem). Heat a 4-quart pot on medium heat and add oil, onion, and broccoli. Cook the mixture for 3 to 4 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Add the stock and nutmeg. Remove potato meat and add to pot. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Cool for a little while, then strain. Make sure to save all liquid and broccoli mix.

In a food processor or mixer, puree the broccoli-potato mix until smooth. Mix the liquid back into the broccoli-potato puree using the same pot. Add cream and simmer for 15 minutes. Cut the bread into small rounds and toast lightly.

When ready to serve, preheat broiler. Fill 6-to-8-ounce ovenproof soup cups with soup, place a few croutons on the top of each bowl, and sprinkle the cheese over them. Place soup cups under broiler for about a minute, until cheese is melted.

Serves 6 to 8.

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