Some of my favorite food memories from our adventure to Quebec City are all the fabulous soups we had. There was something completely perfect about a super hot bowl of root vegetable or french onion soup after a long walk in the snowy wonderland. We enjoyed a variety of amazing hearty soups from a hearty vegetable soups with lots of pork (I love how they are still called vegetable soups despite the addition of ham) to chowders. They were all amazing and perfect energy boosters for the snowy adventures to come.
So with the recent brisk weather in North Carolina right now, there was no question but to prepare a hearty soup for a Friday night home. Despite my friend’s critique, there is nothing wrong with making soup on a Friday night and staying home with a Matt Damon movie. Embrace it, sisters.
Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Soup is simple in ingredient and a quick soup to put together. I used extra homemade stock which made my soup a little less thick but just as flavorful. When I reheat it tonight for dinner, I’ll add more broccoli to keep it fresh and chunky. It’ll certainly keep you warm on this wicked cold nights in the South.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Smitten Kitchen
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, chopped small
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 1/2 cup 2% milk
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/4 pounds broccoli or 4 cups broccoli florets and stems, chopped small
- 1 large carrot, chopped tiny
- 8 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus a pinch extra for garnish
Melt the butter in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually whisk in the half-and-half & milk until smooth. Add the chicken broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
Add the broccoli and carrot to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and adjust seasoning if needed, but err on the cautious side with the salt because the cheese will add a bit. Puree the soup to your desired texture — I like mine fairly chunky, just lightly blended — with an immersion blender or in an upright one. Back on the stove, add cheese and whisk until melted, about 1 minute.