It just so happened that I’d been dreaming of broccoli cheese soup just as my daughter was demanding I make that dream a reality. You see, along with warmer climates and water parks, Kiwi had a long list of food items she requested for over spring break. I laughed when I saw the list, not because of the food items themselves, but because when considering what would could rescue the next 10 days from being “the worst spring break ever,” she’d decided that food was top of the list.
So we bought cheese and forgot broccoli. The next week I bought the broccoli. Then I got busy with work and commitments and everything else, and the soup was put off and put off and put off until I couldn’t put it off anymore. The broccoli was drying out, and it was either make it or throw away all that broccoli. Obviously, I made the soup. I hate wasting things.
This time thing is one I am all too familiar with as an independent contractor. Work piles up, projects take longer, things come up. What gets missed are the things that are flexible, and unfortunately, that usually means things like Saturday afternoon soup sessions. It’s part of the balance that I set out this year in search of, and I’m still searching for that balance, to not give up the things I enjoy when work calls, about managing it better, setting limits.
And so, finally, partially driven by my disgust that I was letting the broccoli go to waste, but mostly driven because my daughter is persistent and I couldn’t let myself say “tomorrow” any longer, we made soup. Together. Melt half a stick of butter in a stockpot or whatever your favorite soup-making vessel is.
When the butter is melted, toss in a few diced onions. Sauté the onions in the butter until they start to look clear. This should take anywhere from 7-10 minutes.
Add garlic just at the end for the last minute.
Enter the flour. Whisk it in to prevent lumps.
Cook this mixture for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Slowly whisk in the cream.
Add in chicken stock. I make my own. I can’t remember the last time I purchased it. That said, adjust the salt level for your soup based on the type of chicken stock you use. My homemade stock doesn’t have much salt in it, so I need to account for that while seasoning my food. I made tamales recently where I forgot this important piece of information.
Fresh tarragon, salt and pepper and the smallest bit of nutmeg. Let this simmer for 20 minutes.
Enter the broccoli. Some recipes call for less broccoli. I like my soup to have some substance, so I add more. Not a fan of chunks, add less. This is intuitive, no?
Stir the broccoli into the pot and simmer for another 20 minutes.
While your soup is simmering away, decide which cheese(s) you’re going to use. I think cheddar would be the most common here. That said, I’m not a huge fan of all cheddar in soups. It never melts just right to give me that completely smooth, silky texture that I want, but I am going to use at least some of it. When choosing a cheddar, choose a high quality, sharp variety. Low quality=lumps and stringy soup. Don’t do it.
With the cheddar I went for Gruyère. It melts evenly and is creamy in soups.
After removing your bay leaves, slowly stir in handfuls of cheese at a time.
And continue until you have it all worked in.
This is the perfect soup for, say, a random snow day in the month of April that I know many people had recently, while you’re sitting inside dreaming of gardening and sipping lemonade on the back porch.
It may not be the same as lemonade, but it definitely takes the chill away, and it’s worth letting the work pile up on your desk just a bit longer.
Finally, the winner of my blog birthday giveaways! Barbara R. won The Pioneer Woman Cooks (and t-shirt), The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook and the Blog Aid Cookbook! Denise S. is the Facebook winner of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day!
Thank you so much for being here. Again, I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you stop by and say hi and hopefully find something useful here in my little piece of internet. Thank you.
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup flour
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons fresh tarragon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
kosher salt and pepper
5 cups broccoli, finely chopped
3/4 cup Gruyère
3/4 cup extra sharp cheddar
Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 10 minutes until onions are translucent. Add in minced garlic and continue to cook for another minute. Whisk in flour to the onions and butter and cook for 4-5 minutes. Whisk in the cream. Add chicken stock, bay leaves, tarragon, nutmeg and salt and pepper to the stockpot. Simmer for 20 minutes over medium-low heat. Add broccoli and continue to simmer for 20-25 minutes. Remove bay leaves from the pot. Stir in shredded cheeses one handful at a time until completely melted.
Makes 7-9 servings.