Thursday, October 17, 2013
Broccoli Cheese Soup
I used to hate broccoli. Like I had a true, honest, complete HATRED for broccoli. It's nasty, I can't stand the taste, I don't want to eat mini trees . . . and on and on and on. It was pretty dramatic-and ridiculous. I have since seen the error of my ways and now I LOVE broccoli. We buy the giant bags of florets from Costco and use it up within two weeks. Broccoli in everything! This soup, in particular, is a family favorite. I wrote down the recipe and have reworked it over and over again until it is perfect-at least in our opinion. The notebook page it's on is covered with mashed broccoli bits, dried cheese, and splashes of milk-all signs of a well-used recipe! My husband is a huge fan and claims that it is just as good as Chili's, which is really, really high praise coming from a self-proclaimed broccoli cheese soup aficionado.
I know that 8 cups of chopped broccoli is a lot, but that is the way we like it--with lots and lots of broccoli! We have made it with 5 cups of chopped broccoli, 2 cups of half and half, 3 cups of chicken stock, and 3 cups of shredded cheese, but my family likes it as written below. My 6-year-old is so excited to take the leftovers to school for lunch in her thermos. She inhaled two huge servings tonight! If you ask her, she will tell you that Mom's broccoli cheese soup is her favorite meal. That's a win in my book!
Broccoli Cheese Soup
2 shallots, finely diced (or one small yellow onion)
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
5 tablespoons salted butter
1/2 cup flour
3 cups half and half
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk
8 cups chopped broccoli florets (from about 7 broccoli crowns)
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese (sharp or extra sharp is best)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Melt the butter in a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Add onion and season lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté on medium heat about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add flour and cook 2 minutes.
Slowly whisk in half and half, milk, and chicken stock. Simmer on medium low heat for 20 minutes.
Add broccoli and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer on medium low heat for 30 minutes or until broccoli is fork tender.
Using an immersion blender, blend the soup for a few minutes to your desired consistency, or, alternately, use a blender and purée half the soup, then add it back to the pot. Bring the soup back up to temp and add the cheese. Once the cheese is melted, it's ready to serve with some extra cheddar sprinkled on top. Let's face it, this is not a healthy recipe, so go nuts with the cheese! Enjoy!