HAPPY NEW YEAR, lovely blog readers!!
We’re kicking off 2016 with chilly temps, gray skies and lots of rain showers here in southern Germany – as a native of the Pacific Northwest, this is just my kind of weather! For my cranky, sun-loving hubby, however, this is a less-than-desirable time of year. And like any good (read: wise and patient) wife confronted with her husband’s grumbling, I nod sympathetically, murmur words of understanding and encouragement, and placate. With soup.
When he requested this Broccoli Cheddar Soup last week, it took me all of 30 minutes to get dressed, throw on some makeup, and drive to the local grocery store for ingredients. Not only because I’ll do anything to turn his frown upside down, but because this soup is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Like better than Panera-style amazing (see Averie Cooks for the original recipe). It’s creamy, rich, and cheesy cheesy CHEESY. The secret to this soup is in fact super high quality, extra sharp Cheddar or Red Leicester cheese. While pre-shredded, bagged cheese has its place in the world, that place is not in this soup; the better the cheese, the better the flavor!
BROCCOLI CHEDDAR SOUP
Yields | 4 to 6 servings
- 1 tbsp + 4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 1 small sweet yellow onion, minced
- 1 clove fresh garlic, peeled and minced finely
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 cups half-and-half (regular or fat-free)
- 2 to 3 cups broccoli florets, diced into bite-size pieces
- 2 large carrots, trimmed, peeled, and finely grated
- 3/4 tsp salt, or to taste
- 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1/2 tsp paprika (optional), and to taste
- 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder (optional), and to taste
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional), and to taste
- 8 ounces grated high quality extra-sharp Cheddar or Red Leicester cheese, plus extra to serve
- In a small saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add minced onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and turning lightly golden, about 4 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. Remove from heat and set pan aside.
- In a large heavy-bottom Dutch oven or soup pot, add 4 tablespoons butter, flour, and cook over medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes (until flour is fully incorporated and thickened), whisking constantly.
- Slowly add the vegetable stock and half-and-half, whisking constantly. Allow mixture to simmer over low heat for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened some. Whisk intermittently to re-incorporate the ‘skin’ that inevitably forms (this is normal).
- After simmering 15 to 20 minutes, add the broccoli, carrots, and the onion and garlic you previously set aside. Add the salt, pepper, optional paprika, optional dry mustard powder, and optional cayenne. Stir to combine.
- Allow soup to simmer over low heat for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened some. Whisk intermittently to re-incorporate the ‘skin’ that inevitably forms, this is normal.
- After simmering for 20 to 25 minutes, add most of the cheese, reserving a small amount for garnishing bowls. Stir in the cheese until melted and incorporated fully, less than 1 minute. Transfer soup to bowls, garnish with reserved cheese, and serve immediately.
[Soup will keep airtight for 5 to 7 days in the fridge. Reheat gently in the microwave.]