Our Creative Juice contributor Sarah has made quite an exciting move to Ireland! I can’t wait to see all the amazing flavors and exciting recipes she will discover while she is there!
Greetings from Sarah in the Emerald Isle!
You may or may not know about my move to Ireland. All I can say is that it is has been four years in the making and to finally be here is, well, pretty amazing. When my plane touched down three weeks ago I was completely exhausted, a little climate-shocked, and on complete emotional sensory overload. When I left Phoenix it was over 100F – when I got to Dublin it was 47F. I was only staying in Dublin for a week before heading up to Belfast for a whole month. It was all I could do to try and figure out the plumbing differences so I could take a hot shower and crash out for a few hours before church that evening.
Have you ever had a dream that you wanted your whole life and then you finally get it? That feeling is so surreal. I was so overwhelmed emotionally I actually almost felt numb. I was super excited, totally freaking out, terrified of the worst-case scenarios playing through my mind, and feeling like the bravest darn woman on the face of the planet…all at the same time. I had come to a country with 7 grand in my bank account, not knowing a single person or having any hard and fast contacts, with the hope of laying the foundation for a move. A permanent relocation to another country. I kept flashing back in my mind to the day, four years ago, when I was out for a run in the arizona desert and the Lord told me, “You are going to move to Ireland”. I actually laughed when He said that.
But I’m not laughing anymore.
As time went on I realized this wasn’t a simple dream – this was a calling. A purpose. Some people reading this may think I’m a fool, some may think I am brave. Regardless of if you agree with everything that made me do this, I hope to inspire you to reach for your dreams, as cliche as I know that sounds. Here’s the deal: there will NEVER be a convenient, mess-free time to easily reach out your hand and pluck the dream apple off life’s tree. There are thorns, there are doubts, there are things that will try and hold you back. The essential thing is not how mess-free you are able to achieve your dreams, it is whether you even try.
So I have started my journey, touring around this amazing country – both in the North and down in the South – in search of where Father God has made a place for me to call home (check out this post for more on the story of getting to Ireland). It’s not easy, taking those first huge leaps of faith, but what I have found is that with each step I take the weight my choices carry with them a momentum. Doors don’t often open unless you first start stepping towards them. So one foot after another, I have started walking…and doors have started to open.
The recipe I am sharing with you today was inspired by a soup I had at one of the coffee shops here. I remember going in and being so incredibly cold. As soon as I walked in the door the smell of coffee, freshly baked bread, and chocolate made me feel like I stepped into a fairytale.
Old and very worn hardwood floors and a fireplace in the corner welcomed me to sit down and soak in all that the Irish autumn can offer. The soup of the day was a broccoli and blu cheese soup. Now, I have never liked blu cheese but this soup was amazing. So I got my thinking cap on and came up with my own recipe – which tasted much the same as the soup I had in that little coffee shop. Check out this tutorial for chiffonade slicing the basil for this recipe super easy and super quick.
From my table, now in Ireland, to yours – enjoy!
- 5 Tbsp Butter
- 3 shallots, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 medium basil leaves, chiffonade sliced
- ⅓ cup Flour
- 2 cups Chicken broth
- 1 large crown Broccoli, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 2 cups Blu Cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring 3 cups of salted water to a boil; add broccoli and boil until slightly softer than fork-tender - about 8 minutes. This will help the broccoli break apart into the soup, but leave nice chunks for biting into. Alternatively, you could steam the broccoli.
- Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed, medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until they become translucent, 5-7 minutes. Toss in the garlic, stirring frequently, and cook for 1 minute or until aromatic.
- Next add flour and cook for another minute, stirring constantly. This step is important because it cooks the flour so it doesn’t taste raw. Next, add in the chicken broth and milk. Stirring frequently, cook until the mixture just begins to bubble, about 7-9 minutes, keeping an eye on the contents at the bottom of the pan because they can burn easily.
- Add broccoli and allow the mixture to simmer a further 5-6 minutes to blend all the flavors. Next, break apart the cheese however you like (I just broke it apart into small chunks using my hands). Turn the heat way down, and add in the cheese. Fold the cheese into the soup until fully incorporated - you may have to squish the cheese with the back of a spoon against the pot's sides to break it apart. The Idea is that the cheese and all its flavors become fully incorporated into the soup liquid.