Friday, February 7, 2014

Brocoli Cheddar Deliciousness

I have officially entered the winter doldrums.  All I want to do is eat, nap, and read.  And what I want to eat is something substantial and hot.  So, what do I do?  Make some thick, creamy, cheesy soup.  Oh yes I did.

This soup is the bomb.   The original recipe says it tastes similar to Panera's broccoli cheddar soup but I can't say I have ever tried their soup.  Instead of making the original recipe's quantity (for two large bowls), I made a double batch because I had a feeling that I wanted to have leftovers.  Good thing!

I used a lot of carrots in my soup because we like carrots and we have a ton.  If you don't like carrots, use less or even omit them.  Make up the difference by increasing the amount of broccoli.  

Broccoli Carrot Cheddar Soup
Serves 6
Adapted from Peas and Crayons

1 large bunch of fresh broccoli
1+ cup of shredded carrots (I used a lot of carrots, probably 2.5 cups)
1 medium to large white onion
6 large cloves of garlic, minced
4+ cups vegetable or chicken stock (add enough stock so that all veggies are submerged)
1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
2 cups of smoked gouda cheese (or use regular gouda but the smoked gives it a nice bacony flavor)
2 cup half and half (or heavy cream)
6 TBSP all purpose flour
6 TBSP butter
2 bay leaves
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (less or more depending on the strength of your cayenne, or omit if you want to break my heart)
1/4 tsp salt (more or less, depending on taste)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Prepare the veggies.  Dice the onion, mince the garlic, shred the carrots (I did this with a food processor - super fast), chop broccoli (just cut off stem so the little florets remain).
2. Heat stock in medium pot over medium-high heat.  Add your broccoli, carrots, onion, garlic and bay leaves.  Simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes, until veggies are tender.
3.  Start the roux.  In a large pot, melt butter on medium heat.  Add flour to butter, whisking constantly.  Cook for approximately a minute.  Remove from heat and slowly whisk in broth from your veggie mixture (it's okay if some veggies fall in).  Once most of the broth is mixed in to the roux, pour the veggies in, add the half and half and stir slowly to incorporate. 

4.  Return to burner over low heat.  Remove bay leaves and season with reaming spices except salt and pepper.

5.  Add the cheese, stirring until creamy and melty.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.  Remove from heat and serve immediately with some crusty bread for dipping!

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