Broccoli-Cheese Soup

Mummy and I made a pot of “Broccoli-Cheese Soup” today and it turned out really yummy so we want to share the recipe with you. It makes about 4 big bowls of soup and would go great with a nice side salad. Some people like to serve this kind of soup inside of a hollowed-out Hawaiian Bread Loaf, but that is a LOT of bread and it soaks up a lot of your soup too. We serve ours in pretty bowls with just a tiny roll and it is the perfect amount of bread, but you can do it either way.
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BROCCOLI-CHEESE SOUP
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6 Tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup flour
2 cups fat free half & half (we tried to cut back SOME calories!)
3 cups chicken stock or chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 Tablespoon water
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4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 head of broccoli)
1 cup baby carrots, cut in thirds
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1 cup shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese (reduced fat)
1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
(a little extra for garnish if desired)
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Melt the butter in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add your chopped onions and cook them until they are tender and slightly browned. This will take about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook until the mixture is a very light brown…you don’t want the flour to taste raw. Cook this for about 3 minutes. Very slowly, whisk in your half and half… do this slowly or you will get lumps everywhere!!!! Mix it until it is nice and smooth. Then add your chicken stock, bay leaves and ground nutmeg. Stir it all up. Add the salt and pepper and give it another stir. In a tiny little cup, mix up your paprika, garlic powder and dry mustard with the Tablespoon of water…make a little slurry out of these spices…mix them up until everything is combined…then add them to the pot. Doing this makes it easier to get these spices to mix up…sometimes dry mustard clumps, so this will get it into your soup lots better!!! Now, reduce your heat to a SIMMER and cook UNCOVERED for about 20 minutes.
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After simmering for 20 minutes, add your broccoli florets and carrots to the broth mixture. Simmer all of this for another 20 minutes or until your carrots are very tender. Remove the bay leaves. With an immersion blender, blend up everything right in the pot! You will still have little flecks of broccoli and carrots in the soup but try and blend it up as smooth as you can. If you do not have an immersion blender, then puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor. (Let the soup COOL for a few minutes before blending the hot liquid!!! And don’t overfill your blender!!! Cover the top of the blender with a cloth towel to catch any hot splatters and leave a tiny corner of the lid open to let hot steam escape. Use the PULSE button…SAFETY FIRST!!!)
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Put everything back into the pot and add the cheeses. Whisk it over medium heat until it is all melted. If you think it is too thick, add a little more chicken stock… but don’t add too much or it will be TOO THIN!!!
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Ladle it into a pretty bowl and serve with a little Hawaiian roll. You can garnish with a little extra cheese if you like.
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I hope that you will enjoy this soup… our family loved it!
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BONE APPETIT!

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