April 2018


Our Charred Broccoli soup ingredients, in the pot and finished soup

Our Charred Broccoli soup ingredients, in the pot and finished soup

CHARRED BROCCOLI SOUP WITH GRILLED BROCCOLI FLORETS

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Known as the mini tree, broccoli is part of the cruciferous vegetable family that includes cabbage, Brussels sprout, cauliflower, and kale to name a few.  Broccoli is low in calories and packed with nutritional value including Vitamin K, C, folate, and potassium.

Although popular as a steamed or stir-fry vegetable, one of the great things when grilling broccoli is it doesn’t lose any nutritional value and you gain great flavor.

I’m going to give you two easy ways to bring wood flavor to broccoli using the equipment of your choice.  Then I’ll tell you how to make an easy broccoli soup that is loaded with hearty flavors of the wood fire.

Gas Grill Method

We are roasting our broccoli on the grates on the gas grill over a wood chunk placed on the diffuser.

One of the benefits of using a gas grill is the heat level control and speed at which the grill can do what you want.  For this method of grilling, I’ll first get four wood chunks from SmokinLicious® in the double filet size and place on one of the grill’s heat shields.  This will be the easy way of adding wood flavor to the broccoli while it cooks.  Set the burners to medium and allow the grate to heat up and the smoke to generate from the wood chunks.  Then place pre-cut broccoli florets on the grill grate keeping some space between the pieces.  I usually can close the lid for the first 5-8 minutes before things start to cook rapidly.  At that point, you’ll need heat-safe tongs to turn the broccoli so it cooks and colors evenly.  Once done, remove to a bowl and allow to cool.

Stovetop Smoker Method

Our Nordic Ware® stovetop smoker adding flavor to our broccoli

Stovetop smokers are perfect for the person who lives in a location that a grill isn’t possible, or who prefers to cook indoors but craves smoke flavor.  I’m using the indoor kettle smoker from Nordic Ware® which uses a wood chip product to produce the smoke.  SmokinLicious® offers a great assortment of wood chip sizing with recommendations specifically for stovetop smokers.  I am using a custom blend of Minuto® Wood Chips in #4 White Oak, #8 Wild Cherry and #6 Hickory.  You can view our series on the specific steps of this method in Dr. Smoke’s Tips and Technique blog.  Unlike the gas grill method, with this one, just load the broccoli florets to the smoker tray, put the cover on and come back in about 40 minutes for the finish.

Bring on the Soup!

After wood firing the broccoli, it’s time to gather the additional ingredients to make our charred broccoli soup.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 cups of baby spinach
  • 6 cups of wood-fired broccoli, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1-1/2 fresh avocado, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups of broth plus extra for thinning soup
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or olive oil
  • Salt & fresh ground pepper

To start the soup, place the oil in a pot and add the diced onion, red pepper flakes, and minced garlic.  Allow time to cook until tender, about 6-8 minutes.  Then add the 4 cups of broth and bring to a boil.

After tenderizing the aromatics and adding the broth, add the 6 cups of chopped wood fired broccoli.  Allow the flavors to marry for about 5 minutes on boil, then turn the heat off.  Add the 3 cups of baby spinach, mixing to combine.  Allow the mixture to cool until just warm.

Place ½ the mixture in a blender or food processor with some of the diced avocado and pulse until pureed.  At this stage, the soup mixture will be thick.  Once the ingredients are completely pureed, transfer back to the pot and place on low heat.  You can alter the thickness of your final soup by adding broth as needed.  Season again with salt and pepper to taste.

We now add our spinach to the pot.

Happiness in a Bowl

Once the soup has been returned to the stove on low heat, you can start to alter the consistency and flavors to suit your taste.  If you prefer a thinner soup, add broth.  Don’t like quite that much smoke flavor?  Add a touch of cream or sour cream to balance out the flavors.  Like a bit more kick?  A drop or two of hot sauce works great.  Once the consistency is achieved, top each serving with a drip of cream and some chopped avocado.  Or, if you want to be dairy free, add a stream of olive oil and chopped avocado.  This is a soup that you can make your own.

I’ve gone cheese-free but you certainly can add that as well.   Frankly, this soup is even yummy served cold.  No matter if you pick the gas grill method or the stovetop method, you’ll have a flavorful, hearty broccoli to use in this soup recipe or other recipes featuring this healthy cruciferous vegetable.

Tasting Notes on our Charred Broccoli Soup recipe:

To tone down the boldness of the smoke, always reach for hardwoods that are noted to be lighter in flavor tones.  These would include Alder, Ash, and Wild Cherry.

If you want to make this a cream-based soup, simply add ¾ cup of light cream or ½ cup of sour cream to the finished soup.  Allow for marrying with the other ingredients for 10-15 minutes before serving.

If you’re looking for a broccoli-cheese version, good choices for cheese include white cheddar, Gruyere, Asiago, Maasdam.

If you want a thinner soup consistency, add an additional 1 cup of broth.

For a spicy kick, add 2 teaspoons of hot sauce or a tablespoon of Hoisin sauce.

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

Wood Chips- Minuto®

Additional reading:

-SMOKED BROCCOLI CASSEROLE WITH APPLE & QUINOA

-Smoked Squash & Kale Soup

-NO, IT’S NOT SLAW JUST SMOKED CABBAGE!

-PEACHES WOOD FIRED FOR A SMOKY FLAVORFUL GAZPACHO

Dr. Smoke- you must try our Charred Broccoli Soup!

Our Savory Corn Muffins on the cool down rack. Just waiting to be served!

Our Savory Corn Muffins on the cool down rack. Just waiting to be served!

ADDING A SMOKY INGREDIENT FOR A SAVORY CORN MUFFINS

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Ready for a savory take on the standard corn muffin recipe?  I’m adding a smoked chive to bring these muffins to a whole new level.

You may have seen someone bake cornbread in a cast iron skillet on the grill but that’s just cast iron cooking.  I’m taking fresh chives that have been smoked on the stovetop with hardwood chips from SmokinLicious® and adding them to a favorite buttermilk cornbread recipe for a sweet-savory combination.  You can read about our technique for smoking the chives in Dr. Smoke’s Tips and Technique blog.

We are pouring our batter into the muffin pan and topping it off with our smoked chives in preparation for bacon.

A Flavorful Batter

To make 12 muffins you’ll need the following:

  • 1-1/4 cups fat-free buttermilk
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup yellow cornmeal, medium ground
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 3 oz. grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons finely chopped smoked fresh chives, divided

Preheat the oven to 400° F.  Combine the buttermilk, olive oil, and egg in a small bowl.  Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground red pepper in a medium size bowl, stirring well with a whisk.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour into that well the milk mixture, stirring just until moist.  Stir in ½ cup of the cheese and 2 Tablespoons of the smoked chives.  Spoon into 12 muffin cups that have been greased.  Sprinkle muffins with the remaining cheese and chives.  Now bake in the oven for about 13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.  Remove from the oven and the remove the muffins from the tin to a wire cooling rack.

Culinary Crew Tasting Notes

Our finished muffins hot from the oven on our plate to be served with your favorite jam or butter.

There are so many variations you can add to this standard recipe while keeping the smoked chives.

  • Add fruit such as blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries and leave out the cheese and pepper.
  • Go meaty with bacon or pancetta but hold the sugar and think about adding a different cheese such as Gruyere or Swiss.
  • You can also change the flavor by swapping out almond flour or coconut flour for the all-purpose.

Purchase products:

Wood Chips- Minuto®

Additional reading:

-EMBER FIRED EGGPLANT & FETA TARTS

-ROOTING FOR GLAZED SMOKED TURNIPS

-Crostini with Smoked Asparagus

Dr Smoke

Dr Smoke -You will love these corn muffins with a touch of smoky flavor!

 

We are doing our grilled tofu adding a BBQ flare recipe on a grill pan to hold the Tofu so we can add a natural smoky flavor

We are doing our grilled tofu adding a BBQ flare recipe on a grill pan to hold the Tofu so we can add a natural smoky flavor!

AN EASY RECIPE FOR GRILLED TOFU ADDING A BBQ FLARE

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When you’re ready for a non-animal protein, why not take tofu to the grill and infuse it with hickory wood smoke which is a perfect match to our spicy Hoisin sauce and marinade.   Our 6-ingredient recipe will get you on the way to a perfect healthier alternative to traditional smoked and grilled proteins.

Pressing Is Key

Made from soybean curds, tofu is a great alternative to meat for a source of protein as well as being low in calories with no cholesterol.  It is important to press the tofu to release the trapped water which is commonly packed in.  To do this, simple sandwich the tofu between multiple layers of paper towel-lined plates and weight it from the top.  Once pressed for at least an hour or longer, you can whisk together a spicy marinade that will also become our sauce for the grilling/smoking step.  Gather together ½ cup of Hoisin sauce, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and ½ teaspoon garlic powder.  Whisk all these ingredients together to be used to marinate the tofu for great flavor.

Once the marinade is made, place the tofu in a resealable storage bag and add the marinade.  Allow the tofu to marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour or more; the longer it marinates, the fuller the flavor will be.

Gas or Charcoal Grill Makes It Perfect

For this recipe, we use a grill pan instead of putting tofu directly on the grates.

Once ready to grill, preheat all burners of the grill to medium-high and collect 1-2 single or double filet wood chunks from SmokinLicious® to be placed on the heat shield.  This will add the great smoke flavor.  Feel free to cook on a charcoal grill as well.  Once preheated, leave only the heat of a single burner on medium-high which will also have the wood chunks placed on that burner’s heat shield.  All other burners should be turned off.  If using a charcoal grill, keep the wood and charcoal to one side of the grill grate area.  I am using a grill pan for my tofu which I’ve pre-sliced into 1-inch thick pieces but you certainly can place directly on the grill grate.

With our tofu placed in a grill pan for cooking on a gas grill using an indirect method of cooking with wood chunks, this will take roughly 10 minutes per side to cook.  During the cooking time, it is important to continue to brush the slices with the reserved marinade to keep the flavors intact.  Flipping the slices at least once is recommended.  Once cooked, I like to put a final layer of the sauce on the tofu slices and allow to rest.

Hearty & Filling

Providing all the essential amino acids for a healthy diet, tofu is a perfect protein to smoke.  One caution is that this product tends to require a bolder wood flavor to reveal itself through the spicy sauce.  I recommend considering such woods as hickory, oak, beech.  Once cooked, you can cut these up into small pieces to serve as a hors d’oeuvre, or add to a salad, soup, rice dish, or vegetable side dish.   Don’t forget, this is hearty enough to be a meal so feel free to serve it as the main protein with a side of salad, coleslaw, or a vegetable side.  Spicy Smoked Tofu may turn out to be your healthy protein alternative with that hearty barbecue flare!  We hope you will follow our recipe Grilled Tofu adding a BBQ Flare for your next dinner event!

 

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Single & Double Filet

 

 

Additional reading:

-ACORN SQUASH- SWEET & SMOKY

-DEVILED EGG FEATURING WOOD-FIRED SMOKED BEETS

-STEPPING UP RADISH SALAD WITH A WOOD-FIRED FLARE

Dr Smoke

Dr. Smoke- Yes you can grill or smoke Tofu!!

Smoked Cabbage on the gas grill using SmokinLicious® filet wood chunk is a wonderful way to add flavor to the vegetable!

Smoked Cabbage on the gas grill using SmokinLicious® filet wood chunk is a wonderful way to add flavor to the vegetable!

IT’S NOT SLAW!

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Smoked Cabbage

Bringing you another vegetable to take to the grill and smoke with wood for exceptional flavor.  This time we focus on cabbage, a fiber-rich leafy vegetable that has been known to help with so many conditions.  We will take wedges of cabbage, paint them with a spicy Dijon sauce and wood-fire them for about an hour using an indirect cooking method.  Get your gas grill or charcoal grill ready for our version of smoked cabbage that you’ll want to make again and again.

It’s All in The Sauce

Just a few simple ingredients

To bring a super flavorful taste to our wood-fired cabbage, we’ll first make the spicy sauce that will be brushed on each cabbage wedge.  Start by gathering the following ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt or kosher salt- ½ teaspoon
  • Fresh ground pepper- ½ teaspoon
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

This will be a paste-like consistency once all the ingredients are combined.

For the cabbage preparation, simply cut off the hard root end, cut in half, then cut each half in half.  In the end, you will cut 8 wedges for the grill.

One Hour of Smoky Goodness

Cabbage on the grill

After pre-heating the grill it’s time to setup the two-zone cooking using single or double filet wood chunks from SmokinLicious®.  Once heated, turn all but one burner off and place the wood chunks on the heat shield of the lit burner.  If cooking on a charcoal grill, place the charcoal and wood to one side of the grill.  Brush on the spicy Dijon sauce on each cabbage wedge.  I’m cooking the wedges on a sheet pan placed on the unlit side of the grill.  Let these cook for at least an hour.  You’ll know they are ready when I knife inserted through the wedge passes through easily.

A Sauce to Finish It Off

Ingredients on the stove top, ready to make a perfect sauce for smoked cabbage

While the spicy cabbage wedges smoke and cook on the grill, it’s time to get the ingredients ready for the finishing sauce.  Start by gathering:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced scallion
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until well combined.  Keep the sauce warm until the cabbage is ready, making sure that the butter does not separate from the other ingredients.

Once the cabbage is tender and lightly charred, it’s time to remove it from the grill, plate, and spoon on the finishing sauce.  With the tang of Dijon, the sweetness of the sun-dried tomato and scallion, and smokiness from hickory wood, this is cabbage like you’ve never had before.  This is filling enough to eat as a meal or makes the perfect side to beef, pork, and chicken.  One of the best things about this recipe is it needs very little attention while on the grill.  Enjoy not only the flavor benefits of this dish but the health benefits as well.

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

 

 

 

 

Additional reading:

-TORTELLINI GETS A SMOKY MATE

-ACORN SQUASH- SWEET & SMOKY

-FRESH CORN ON THE COB- GRILLED

 

Dr Smoke- "Yummy! Try adding this twist to your next cabbage recipe."

Dr Smoke- “Yummy! Try adding this twist to your next cabbage recipe.”