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VEGETABLE PURÉE SOUP WITH GARLIC CROUTONS
This recipe was inspired by one I found in "Cookery The Australian Way", sent to me by my friend Vic from Down Under. I had to jazz it up a little though to suit our tastes.
Serves: 6
Prep.Time: 30 minutes + 30 minutes simmering
1 cup diced carrot
3/4 cup diced raw potatoes
1/4 cup finely diced cclery
1 cup diced onion
2 cups chicken broth
1 small smoked ham bone or ham hock
1 cup half and half
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Dash of hot pepper sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh thyme and parsley to garnish
Gralic-flavor croutons to garnish
In a large saucepan, combine vegetables, ham bone and broth; bring to boil. Lower heat; cover and simmer 30 minutes or until all vegetables are tender. Remove Ham bone. In a blender or food processor, puree mixture (in batches if needed) until smooth. Return puree to the saucepan. Combine flour with 2 tablespoons of the half and half; stir into soup. Cook and stir until almost boiling; simmer 1 minute. Add remaining half and half and hot pepper sauce; salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot garnished with chopped fresh herbs and croutons.
NOTE: A very special and elegant addition to this is to top the soup with a few pieces of jumbo lump crabmeat just before serving.

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Copyright 2001 Carol Stevens, Shaboom's Kitchen, All Rights Reserved