Sunday, December 6, 2009

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I have been trying to find time to make this recipe all week. I was afraid it would take a ton of time and that is a luxury I don't have these days. The recipe is actually very quick and relatively easy. My wonderful husband decided to help with both the dishes (oh yes, the dishes) and with the food preparation. This helped tremendously and allowed me to concentrate on following the directions very carefully. Something I am notorious for not doing.

This is embarrassing to say, but I didn't know how to use my Cuisinart Food Processor we got for our wedding. I didn't read the directions nor had I ever owned one before. I usually slice, chop or grade stuff myself. Yeah, that is really old-school and takes a lot of time. Well, I asked him to read them and show me how to use it. It is so simple. I don't know how anyone can cook .. or even live without one of these things. They are a time and life saver! We sliced, shredded and pureed with it tonight just to see what it could do.

My husband liked the cheese base of the soup but he isn't a huge vegetable fan. I thought this would be a great recipe to have him try since whenever we go to Panera for lunch he always gets the Broccoli and Cheddar soup there and loves it. Well, I think I must have pureed it too much for him so I think I will just have to take more time to make smaller chunks of broccoli and not puree it in the end. I personally loved it. It was the most magnificent blend of broccoli, cheese, and carrot. I couldn't even really taste the onion which I was originally worried about too. The recipe I used was from Annie's Eats and I adapted one ingredient only because .. per the norm .. I neglected to read them all beforehand and realized when I was making it that I didn't have it on hand.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

6 tbsp butter, divided
3/4 cup onion, chopped (I used yellow)
1 cup carrot, shredded
4 cups small broccoli florets (approximately 1 head)
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp onion powder
dash salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In large stockpot, melt 2 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the onion to the pan and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and cook a few minutes more. Stir in the broccoli, chicken broth, onion powder, salt, and garlic powder. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce heat to low to simmer.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan melt the remaining 4 tbsp butter on medium heat and add the flour. Whisk together and cook until golden, about 1-2 minutes (mixture will be chunky). Whisk in the milk and cook until it thickens and bubbles, about 5 minutes. Then, add the cheese and whisk until completely melted which shouldn't take too long. Add this cheese mixture to the stockpot. Allow to simmer until warmed and broccoli is at desired consistency. Season with pepper if desired.

You can also add the mixture to a food processor to blend and chop the broccoli up a bit more, but it all depends on preference.

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