Thursday, February 23, 2012

Creamy Cheddar Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup

 Lately I have been in a soup mood.... it's about the only thing that sounds good on a cold day when you come home tired and stressed from work. The Pioneer woman made Broccoli soup on her show a few weeks ago, and in one of my magazines they had a whole section on soup, and one of them was a broccoli soup. I had been craving a good creamy soup for a while, but I didn't really like either recipe on it's own, so I took what I liked about both and combined them and did a few things of my own too. This is the recipe I came up with! Remember...you don't have to use Cauliflower in this soup, you can use all broccoli, but I like both. Also, I used fresh broccoli and cauliflower. You could use frozen if you like, just thaw it out a little before hand. You could even use the frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrot mix if you like. I loved it! Enjoy!

Creamy Cheddar Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup
Ingredients to get soup started:
2-3  Tablespoons olive oil
1 whole onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 heads broccoli, (cut into florets) you want about 3 cups
1 head cauliflower (cut into florets)you want about 2 cups
3 cups water (or just enough to almost cover veggies in soup pot)
2 Teaspoons chicken bouillon
Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium/high heat. When hot, saute onion and celery for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the broccoli and cauliflower, and just enough water to almost cover your veggies. Add Chicken bouillon and stir to combine. Bring this to a boil, then turn down the heat a little, but keep it simmering. Cover and cook about 15 to 20 minutes or until broccoli and other veggies are tender.
While your broccoli is simmering. Make a white sauce.
Ingredients for White sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
heaping 1/3 cup of flour
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
dash of nutmeg
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Then add the flour and whisk to combine, let this butter and flour mixture cook for a minute or two, but keep whisking once in a while and don't let it burn. Then slowly whisk in the 3 cups milk. Stir and cook until this mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Takes about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper, hot sauce(hot sauce just enhances the flavor I think), and nutmeg, Stir to combine. Remove from heat.
Once your broccoli is tender, add the white sauce to the soup pot along with:
1 cup cream (or half n'half)
Stir to combine. At this point you can use a potato masher to smash some of the broccoli up, I put half of it in a blender and pureed, then added back to the pot. or if you have an immersion blender (something I need to invest in I think) use that to puree some of the soup but leave some of the broccoli chunky.
Next stir in :
3 to 4 cups grated cheese (I used Medium Cheddar, but Sharp Cheddar or Jack cheese would be good)
Stir to combine and melt cheese. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve in individual bowls. Garnish with more grated cheese, croutons, and bacon bits. Enjoy!!

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