The 1970’s and 1980’s food trends ruined American palates. We had a French food revolution here, fondue, and even guys touting that “Real Men Eat Quiche” on their bumper stickers, but I didn’t know many middle-class moms making that stuff. Instead we got Hamburger Helper, Steak Umms, and that horrid fruit cocktail in syrup. Sure, there were the tasty items like La Choy, Shake n’ Bake and Jiffy Pop, but everything was processed and canned. I thought I hated asparagus because it had this musky aftertaste. Previously frozen broccoli was water-logged, and just reliving the memory is making my face contort in disgust. And then there was spinach. YUCK! Canned spinach is stringy and chalky. I hate it. It isn’t that our generation of moms weren’t feeding us right, or putting in the effort. Serving these foods was the trend. In fact when I was little, dinner time was revered, and families were not so distracted by activities that gathering around the table was a special occasion. My mother worked hard to put a home cooked, healthy meal on the table each night. However, the food trend of canned everything made me think I hated a lot of things I now love.
Issue yourself a challenge, as I did – – take a vegetable you or a family member detests and find a way to like that vegetable. Roasting is a great way to bring out the natural sweetness in vegetables, soups can temper a strong flavor, and casseroles are the great masquerade for unpopular ingredients. Cook with fresh ingredients and you will notice all the difference. I never in a million years thought I would ever eat broccoli, but now I find myself serving it often. Broccoli is great roasted, sweet and/or fiery in a Chinese dish, and soothing in a soup. I’m posting one of my kids’ favorites, “Bock-ee soup,” as Katelyn calls it.
This recipe is incredibly budget-friendly, especially if you buy stock at Aldi or the Great Value chicken stock at Wal-Mart I make this soup when broccoli goes on sale for 99 cents a pound, or when I can get something like 4 pounds for $3 at the farmer’s market. When you are making this recipe you might think to yourself, “there is no way this is going to have any flavor,” but this soup is a delicious surprise your family will love.
Broccoli Cheese Soup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 stalk chopped celery
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 8 cups broccoli
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups 2 % milk
- ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a Dutch oven, and saute onion and celery until tender. Add broccoli and broth, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until broccoli is tender. Remove from heat. If you have a stick blender, puree the soup in the pot. As an alternative, pour into a food processor or blender and puree. Add cheese and stir.
In small saucepan, over medium-heat melt 3 tablespoons butter, stir in flour and slowly add milk. Stir until thick and bubbly, and add to soup. Season with salt and pepper before stirring.