Friday, September 20, 2013

Sips + Bites: Broccoli Cheddar Soup



Are you as ready as we are for cooler weather, layering & boots, pumpkin errythang, and warm soups & stews? Even though it's still close to 90 degrees in sunny Florida on a daily basis, it doesn't stop us from cooking up some warm soup (to enjoy in our homes with the AC cranked up) - and since we can't exactly take out our boots and layers just yet, homemade soups will just have to do for now. Oh, and thank you Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks for your pumpkin caffeinated deliciousness - we'll sip and pretend that we are up north somewhere feeling that crisp fall air and watching the leaves change. Lush greenery and palm trees get real boring around here sometimes!

I found this recipe on FoodNetwork.com and while it is called "Healthified Broccoli Cheddar Soup" - we all know anything that involves cheddar isn't exactly "healthy"! Cheddar makes everything better, and fall recipes are never "healthified". All we can think of in the fall and winter are yummy food and drinks that kind of help "keep you warm" during hibernation...ha!

I cooked this dish with a little variation to the recipe, which mostly was swapping out the extra-sharp cheddar cheese for organic Colby Jack cheese, using half and half instead of evaporated milk, no potatoes and added carrots instead, and passing on the nutmeg and holding off on the scallions. The little one around here isn't interested in the scallions. Oh, and we added a little bit of sour cream too!

Ingredients
1 bunch broccoli
1 cup of finely shredded carrots
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup grated / chopped Colby Jack cheese (you can use cheddar if you prefer)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
12 ounces half and half
2 tablespoons of sour cream
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Non-stick cooking spray

Directions
Break up the broccoli into small pieces, stems and florets. Trim and discard the bottom parts and tough layers of the broccoli, discard anything that seems it will be too tough to cook down.

Mist a large pot with non-stick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the broccoli, onions and carrots, allow to cook (be sure to stir) until softened, for about 7 to 10 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and the vegetables are tender. Now add the half and half, stir in the Colby Jack cheddar, and add the Worcestershire sauce and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. 

Note that when I used the Colby Jack cheddar, we used the Organic Valley cheese slices, and just chopped these down into small pieces, in which they melted perfectly. The taste of the Colby Jack cheddar was a nice touch to the broccoli, in addition to the sour cream.

From the cook's note on the original Food Network recipe: Leftover soup should be reheated in the microwave rather than the stove top, where the cheese will "break" or separate from the broth. Good to know.


Hope you and your family enjoyed this soup as much as we did. Fortunately, Bill does not like broccoli, period. His dislike and opinion of this "vile weed" left more soup for Edison and I to enjoy. :)

Edison checking out the soup, contemplating a bite, and enjoying it = happy mama!

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