Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

Finally, some chilly weather! Broccoli-Cheddar soup is a classic and easily made with local ingredients.

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I often do not cook with recipes. Sometimes this makes sharing a recipe difficult as I am cooking by eye and by taste and have no idea how much of each ingredient I’ve used. I did pay close attention last time I made this soup so I could share it with you.

I used to hate even the smell of broccoli-cheddar soup. I think it was a combination of the sharp cheese and also of overcooked broccoli. Also, many “cream of” soups have a lot of flour in them to make them creamy, especially in the low-fat 90s when cooks started reducing cream and needed a replacement.

All the cream of…  soups I’ve made for a long time are potato based. This makes them creamy without any flour so are appropriate for folks eating gluten-free.  They will also be creamy with minimal fat but are definitely yummy with plenty of cream!

I make this a bit differently every time and I encourage you to try different variations. It’s good to be at least flexible as ingredient availability can change. For instance, when I made this soup for the photograph I had 1 ½ pounds of broccoli and barely one pound of potatoes. It was still yummy, and the difference, while perceptible was small. I have used a mirepoix as my base before - a combination of onions, celery, and carrots - and that is good, too. For this batch I made a quick stock of shitaake stems, but often I use only water. And I had no cheddar cheese. I used Monterey Jack instead and in the future I’d like to try one from Sequatchie Cove Creamery.

In addition to variations in ingredients there are differences in preparation. The simplest way is to make everything in one pot and blend it up when you are done. Blend it completely for a smooth texture or leave some chunks if you like. Or, steam some of the broccoli and/or potatoes in separate small pot(s) to add in after blending. It’s all up to you.

BroccoliCheddarSouporignial.jpeg

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup
Serves ~ 6

Ingredients:
1 small to medium onion
2 Tbs butter
1 pound broccoli
1 ½ pounds potatoes
Salt to taste
1 cup milk or cream
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
Sour cream to serve

Directions:

  1. Chop or slice onion as desired and sauté in butter until soft, salting to taste.
  2. Add potatoes, chopped, salt lightly and cover with water. Simmer, covered, until they begin to soften.
  3. Add broccoli, chopped, and salt lightly. Cook until broccoli is tender.
  4. Add milk and blend to desired consistency. Add more water or milk as needed.
  5. Add cheese and stir. Taste and adjust seasonings.


Options:

  • Steam part of the broccoli florets separately and use as garnish or for a different texture.
  • Steam or boil small cubes of peeled potato separately and add in at the last minute for a different texture.
  • Add other vegetables to the onion sauté such as carrots, celery, and/or garlic.
  • Use stock in place of water.
  • Use a different fat such as olive oil.
  • Use a different hard cheese, such as Sequatchie Cove Creamery’s Cumberland or Nickajack. 
Heather Cross