Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Almost Famous Broccoli Cheddar Soup

A pureed broccoli cheddar soup has been on my list of "must do" recipes over the last two years. I never found a good recipe to use. Good recipe meaning I don't have to buy ingredients I've never heard of before or that I have to go to a specialty store. I like simple recipes - basically, can I pick up everything in one prime location (my local Henry's?). Anyway, I started subscribing to the Food Network magazine about two months ago and I came across a very easy-to-do broccoli cheddar soup recipe (a copy cat of Panera breads famous soup) and decided to try my hand at it. Here is the recipe courtesy of Food Network:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves (I didn't use this and it tasted just fine)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I have the already grated nutmeg but I heard fresh is better)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 7-inch sourdough bread boules (round loaves)
4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 head)
1 large carrot, diced
2 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated sharp white and yellow cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish

Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually whisk in the half-and-half until smooth. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves and nutmeg, then season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the bread bowls: Using a sharp knife, cut a circle into the top of each loaf, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Remove the bread top, then hollow out the middle with a fork or your fingers, leaving a thick bread shell.

Add the broccoli and carrot to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth; you'll still have flecks of carrot and broccoli. Return to the pot. (Or puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender.)

Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until melted. Add up to 3/4 cup water if the soup is too thick. Ladle into the bread bowls and garnish with cheese.


This soup is a must have when the weather is cold outside and you are in the mood for great bread. The bread really made the soup so much better - I chose sourdough, my fave! Without the bread bowl, I think the soup is a little too hearty to have. Let me know what you think of it :)

By the way, this soup is not very salty. I added a little more cheese and salt to kick up the flavor a little more (my taste buds are a little picky).

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