I love my immersion blender. I don't use it all that often, but it is small and easy to store, and when I need it to puree a homemade soup, there really is no convenient substitute. If you get along without one, thinking your blender or food processor does the job, trust me, the ease and convenience of pureeing a soup with an immersion blender right in the stock pot is akin to wielding a magic cooking wand. No slopping of hot soup from pot to blender and back again, leaving you with drips on counters and cupboards. An immersion blender is clean and easy (well, provided you keep it fully immersed, because if you're not careful about that, you will end up with a mess spraying all over the kitchen, so consider yourself warned).
I use my immersion blender almost exclusively for pureeing soup. I recently made this Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup (utilizing the immersion blender), and it is so yummy I can't wait to make it again! My children are not impressed by it, but I am going to make another batch, stat, and freeze it in lunch-sized serving portions for my husband and myself.
Here is another pumpkin soup recipe that I make a couple times around the holidays. The directions state to use a food processor, but I use my immersion blender, and voila, I'm done.
Pumpkin Pecan Bisque
1 C chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
14 oz broth
16 oz pumpkin puree
1 1/4 C water
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 C half-and-half
1 cup pecan pieces, toasted
In a large saucepan, melt butter. Saute onion and garlic over medium heat for 7-10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Add broth, pumpkin, water, sugar, spices, salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, reduce heat. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in half-and-half and pecan pieces.
Use your immersion blender and blend until smooth. Heat to serving temperature. (Or use your blender or food processor to blend the soup mixture in batches, but man, that is such a pain in the neck!)
Sorry I don't have any photos of the blender in action, but that would require either one of my children to blend for me while I photograph (um, no, see my hint about avoiding spraying all over the kitchen), or for my children to agree to photograph me while I blend. Neither event is very likely in this household!