Cream of Vegetable Soup
* 1 1/2 to 2 cups vegetable, your favorite, depending on the vegetable and how thick you like the soup * 1/4 cup chopped onion * 1/3 cup sliced celery * 1 clove of crushed garlic, or to taste * 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste * 1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste * 1 bay leaf * 2 cans (10 3/4 ounces each) condensed chicken broth * 2 tablespoons butter * 2 tablespoons flour * 1 1/2 cups of half-and-half
In a 3-quart saucepan, combine the vegetable, onion, celery, salt, pepper, garlic, and bay leaf. Add water to the chicken broth to make three cups and add it to the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat.
Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender. Drain and save broth. Remove bay leaf and puree the vegetables in a blender with half of the broth. In another pan, melt the butter and remove from heat. Add flour to the butter and put back over the heat, stirring until the mixture boils. Add the pureed vegetables and the half-and-half to the butter-flour mixture. Continue stirring until the soup is hot and well blended.