My sister is visiting for Christmas, and she is a vegetarian. Well, sort of a vegetarian. She eats bacon, but who can blame her? Bacon rules. Not only does she not eat meat, but she is a tad particular, so I’m always excited when I make something she loves. Tonight I made broccoli cheese soup, and she gave it a thumbs-up. My kids love it too, and so will yours.
Still using my broccoli I got this summer for 50 cents a pound. I had to buy 26 pounds of it to get that price, however. I’m almost out of broccoli, so I’m hoping to get another deal at the farmer’s market soon.
Don’t use mild cheese in this soup, but stick to the suggestion of sharp, or extra sharp.
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 chopped small clove of garlic
1 chopped celery stalk
3 cups chicken broth
8 cups broccoli florets
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups whole milk
2 cups of sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese
Saute onions, garlic and celery in 1 tbsp of butter until soft. Add broccoli and chicken broth, and simmer for about 10 minutes. When broccoli has softened, turn off heat and puree in the pot with your stick blender, or puree in batches in a food processor or blender.
If you are using a food processor or blender, make sure the soup is vented while you puree, and place a towel over the opening. It will have to be pureed in batches if you are not using a stick blender.
In a saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and add flour. Cook flour in butter, stirring constantly, until the flour gets a very light brown color. Add milk. Whisk and cook on medium until the mixture thickens, which should happen right before it starts to bubble. If you neglect to stir the milk, it will form a skin on the bottom of the pot and burn. After the mixture has thickened, remove from heat.
Add thickened milk and broccoli mixture to the pot and add cheese. Warm through until cheese is melted, and add salt.