Give a girl an immersion blender and she will make a lot of soup — I had to try broccoli cheddar soup, and as you can see from the photos, I had little Miss 4-year-old as my sous chef today.
When my husband and I were first dating, we tried making broccoli cheddar soup together. Yes, I said tried…this is because it was a complete and utter disaster. We had no idea what we were doing. Neither of us had found our cooking niche yet, so we were totally winging it. I recalled my mother using milk when she made cream of cauliflower soup for us, so we threw some in the pot. Dan insisted on chicken stock. We chopped a bunch of broccoli up and dumped a package of shredded cheese in, expecting it to magically come together into a smooth, creamy puree. Ha! What we got was lumpy, curdled cheese stuck to mushy broccoli. Completely inedible. Time for a frozen pizza.
I guess I’ve learned a thing or two since then. To make a creamed soup, you need to layer those flavors. You need a roux. You need patience. The good thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t take forever, you just have to follow the steps.
What you need:
A couple small to medium heads of broccoli and stems
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
Some olive oil, salt and pepper
2 Cups of chicken stock
2 Cups of whole milk
1/2 of a medium onion, diced
1/3 Cup of flour
2 Tbs of butter
1-1 1/2 Cups of shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Cut up your broccoli into florets and save the stems. Wash the florets, then place on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss the broccoli in the oil/salt/pepper until coated, then pop it in the oven for about 10 minutes. Don’t forget to keep an eye on this — you only want your broccoli to just start to crisp up a bit and get some brown edges. You aren’t cooking this completely, just giving it a slight roast to add depth of flavor to your soup.
While the broccoli is cooking, melt your butter over medium high heat in a stock pot or dutch oven. Add your onions and chopped carrot. Peel your broccoli stems and chop them, then add them to the pot (I love broccoli stems — they are milder in flavor than the florets. They often get tossed in the trash, but are so good. Don’t waste em!). After your onions start to become transclucent, sprinkle your flour on top of your veggies and stir to coat. Cook the butter/veg/flour mixture for about a minute, then whisk in your 2 Cups of milk slowly. Once you have your milk incorporated, you should notice the soup getting thickened. This is when you add your chicken stock. After your oven roasted broccoli is ready, take it out of the oven and add it to your pot of soup. Let the soup simmer on a very low heat for about 20 minutes until the broccoli and carrots are softened. Make sure you check on it often and stir. If it gets too hot, the milk will curdle.
After about 20 minutes, blend your soup in batches or use an immersion blender until you have a decent puree. Add your soup back to the pot and bring up to a low simmer. Then whisk in your cheese slowly. After your cheese is melted in, add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve this soup with crackers, bread or a salad. Healthy and delicious. Just look at that gorgeous color!