Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Broccoli & Cheddar Soup

Here is an old war-horse of a soup, best known as a third-rate chain restaurant choice served more or less directly out of a plastic bag from "food services". It doesn't have to be like that though - made with fresh, high quality ingredients it's delicious, and almost certainly a lot more nutritious too. Unlike a lot of soups, it doesn't need to be made in advance, but can be eaten as soon as it is made. Nor does it take long to make.

Stock will make the flavour more complex, but I find it just fine made with water. Also, while this calls for one whole head of broccoli, it will also use up the rest of the stems from the bunch, which makes this part of my collection of things to do with those unloved broccoli stems. 

4 servings
40 minutes - 30 minutes prep time

Broccoli & Cheddar Soup

1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons finely minced fresh chives
OR 1 tablespoon dried chives
1 stalk celery
1 medium-small onion (about 1 cup chopped)
1 medium-small carrot (about 1 cup grated)
2-3 broccoli stems (2 to 3 cups grated)
1 broccoli head (florets) (about 1 cup chopped)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups water or chicken or vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 cup 10% cream
1 1/3 cups grated extra-old Cheddar cheese
PLUS 2/3 cup grated extra-old Cheddar cheese to pass

Peel and mince the garlic. Wash, dry and mince the chives. Put these 2 items aside together.

Wash, trim, and chop the celery. Peel and chop the onion. Peel and grate the carrot. Peel any tough skin from the broccoli stems, and grate them. Chop the broccoli florets fairly finely and set them aside separately from the rest of the vegetables.

Put the butter into a large heavy-bottomed pot, and heat over medium-high heat. Once it is melted, add the celery, onion, carrot, and broccoli stems. Cook, stirring regularly, for about 5 to 8 minutes until the vegetables have softened and cooked down a bit, but don't let them brown.

Add the garlic and chives, and cook in for another minute or so. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and mix it in; cook for a minute or two until there is no sign of raw white flour left. Slowly mix in the water or broth. Add the chopped broccoli florets and the bay leaf, and simmer for 7 or 8 minutes.

Add the paprika, the cream, and 1 1/3 cups of grated Cheddar. Do not let it simmer again; just stir it until the cheese is melted and the soup is hot through. Fish out the bay leaves. Serve at once. Pass the remaining cheese for people to add a little more if they are so inclined (very few people aren't so inclined).




Last year at this time I made Apple Cider Spice Cake

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