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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I almost named this blog "Feeling Fran-tic."  Because that is how I frequently feel.  As much as I love to cook, it's hard to enjoy it when you're pressed for time and trying to fit meal preparation into a busy schedule.

And I was extremely FRAN-tic last night when my dog got sprayed by a skunk at 10:30!  Twenty-plus years of dog ownership, first time I ever had to deal with that.  But I digress.  I will save that story for another post.

I probably make two or three soups a week, to store in the fridge for those nights when I don't have a lot of time to spend preparing dinner.  It's easy to heat up (and in most cases I find that soups taste better the day after they're made when all the flavors have had time to mix), and combined with a sandwich (using your panini grill if you have one) you'll have a great meal with minimal prep time.

Broccoli Soup with Cheddar Cheese
Printable Recipe
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 4 1/2 cups chopped broccoli (about 3 crowns)
  • 3/4 cup diced onion
    1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 small bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup light cream
  • 2 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese
In a large saucepan, sauté the onion in the olive oil over medium/high heat until the onion is soft and just beginning to brown.  Add remaining ingredients except flour, cream and cheddar cheese.  Bring to a boil.  When it starts to boil, turn the heat down and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, turn the heat off and allow the soup to cool a bit.  Remove the bay leaf.  Wait until there is no longer any steam coming off the soup.  You will need to puree about 2/3 of the soup (it doesn't have to be exact!) in a blender or food processor.  (You can't do this when the soup is still hot.  I tried once.  It made a mess.)

You want to puree the broccoli, the time will vary depending upon the strength of your blender.
I pureed mine for about 10 seconds. Please don't overfill your blender.  (I also did this once.  Another mess.)  I have found that two batches in my blender equals about 2/3 of the soup.

{You could also use an immersion blender, but you will still have to remove about 1/3 of the soup from the saucepan, because you still want to have some chunks of broccoli (for texture)!}

Return the blended soup to the saucepan and reheat to medium/low.  Add the flour and continually whisk until all the lumps have dissolved.
Next, add the cream.  Allow the soup to simmer for about 15 minutes.  This will thicken it up a bit.  You could also add some diced ham at this time if your family likes ham.  Mine doesn't.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a handful of cheese.  
Today, I am fortunate to have the time to spend all afternoon in my kitchen.  Baking.  Gotta make my house smell nice and hopefully erase all traces of skunkiness.

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