Thursday, November 12, 2015

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

You've got to walk a fine line with broccoli cheddar soup.  It can easily become way too rich.  I mean, you're eating broccoli, for god's sake.  It should feel mostly healthy still.  It can also be too white and creamy.  Where is all the broccoli?  Then again I am not even that in love with broccoli.  I am not a fan of super pureed soups.  I like them to have some texture to them.  But too much, and it's weird.  See what I mean about the fine line?  But I was willing to try to walk said line for Jesse's birthday, because he said it was his favorite soup.  Now, we later established that actually his favorite soup is cream of broccoli, not broccoli cheddar.  And let's not discuss the fact that he even enjoys it from a can - or "pouch" (what the hell is a pouch of soup!?)  Regardless, none of this was known on the actual birthday dinner.  I was already making the pasties I posted yesterday so he could have some steak, but I wanted something that we could both eat, so when I saw that Smitten Kitchen had recently posted a broccoli cheddar soup recipe that she deemed perfection, I decided to give it a try.

This soup perfectly walks the line.  The soup is not too rich; it tastes like vegetables, like broccoli and onion and garlic and carrot, with just enough creaminess to make it taste like a slight indulgence.  It's more green than white, with flecks or orange from the carrot.  Bottom line: this is a winner when it comes to broccoli cheddar soup.  I loved it, and even if it happened to not be Jesse's favorite soup, he liked it too.  I happily ate the leftovers at work for days.  Not too bad for a birthday dinner spread, right?


broccoli cheddar soup
from Smitten Kitchen
serves 4 - 6

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped small
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup half-and-half
4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 bay leaf
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 pounds broccoli, or 4 cups broccoli florets and stems, chopped small
1 large carrot (about 6 ounces) or 2 small, chopped tiny (1 cup)
8 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish


1) Melt the butter in a large, heavy pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Stir in the flour and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually whisk in the half-and-half until smooth.

2) Add the broth, bay leaf, salt, and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

3) Add the broccoli and carrot to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Discard the bay leaf and adjust seasoning if needed, but err on the side of caution because the cheese will add some salt. Puree the soup to your desired texture - mine was mostly chunky - with an immersion blender or in an upright one.  Back on the stove, add the cheese and whisk until melted, about 1 minute.  Serve in bowls garnished with a pinch of cheese.

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