Immersion Blender: Puree Like A Champ
If you've ever transferred batches of hot soup from the stove to the Osterizer, you know the value of an immersion blender. It's the blending equivalent of a miracle - you can mix, blend, puree, and whip right in the pot of origin. No sloppy transfers, no extra dirty dishes. In short, less mess. Yes!
The greatest appliance since the food processor can be yours for as little as $15. The cheaper ones seem to work just fine for basic uses, but of course, you get what you pay for, and you can shell out $400 for a top of the line one.
If you're comparing immersion blenders, note the wattage. The higher it is (most range from 100-200 watts), the more powerful the motor. The more powerful the motor, the better it mixes, but the more difficult it is to control.
And control is important; if you don't keep the business end completely submerged, your kitchen will end up looking like the scene of a ritual sacrifice. They don't call them immersion blenders for nothing.
Many blenders come with chopping and whipping attachments, but the regular mixing blade will do both those jobs (although not as efficiently). In fact, with or without its attachments, the immersion blender steps up to a surprisingly wide range of tasks.
The most common use for the immersion blender is pureeing soups and sauces, but it can be used for anything from mixing cocoa to making mayonnaise.
- Make smoothies or milkshakes right in the glass.
- Whip cream (although it's slightly thicker than the mixer's version).
- De-lump gravy, particularly if you're using giblets or vegetables that can be pureed to thicken it.
- Emulsify salad dressing.
- Break down tomatoes for pasta sauce.
- Chop small quantities of nuts (but do it in a deep, steep-sided container).
- Beat eggs, particularly if you're mixing in milk or water for scrambled eggs or omelets.
- Mix orange juice or lemonade from concentrate.
- Make a killer egg cream (especially if you have Hershey's Chocolate Syrup).
Carrot & Apple Soup
You can use your hand blender to puree this sweet combination of apples and carrots right in the Dutch oven you cook it in. While this recipes calls for Golden Delicious apples, which always have a good flavor, you can substitute your favorite variety.
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped coarsely
2 pounds carrots
2 large Golden Delicious apples
2 cans (14-1/2 oz each) chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
heavy cream or Half-and-half for garnish
Fresh chives for garnish
1. In a 5-quart Dutch oven on the stovetop, heat butter over medium heat until melted. Add chopped onion and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden and tender.
2. Peel the carrots and apples. Dice both ingredients into one inch chunks.
3. Add carrots, apples, chicken broth, ginger, sugar and salt along with 2 cups of water to the cooked onions in the Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until the carrots become tender.
4. Remove from heat and use the hand blender to puree until quite smooth. Ladle soup into bowls and swirl with heavy cream if desired. Garnish with chives.