by Ashley Fagan
We've officially hit soup season! The temperature is dropping here in the North East and chilly Fall days call for something warm and comforting. Broccoli and cheddar are a classic flavor combination that has been a favorite of mine since childhood. The only way my mom could get me to eat my broccoli as a kid, was to coat it in gooey, yellow cheese sauce so that only a subtle hint of green could we detected underneath. I can’t really blame the child version of me, cheese will forever be a favorite of mine! This recipe is very reminiscent of the cheesy broccoli soup you can find at the popular food chain...we'll just say it rhymes with "Schmanara". I've upped the veggie content here and opted for a more sophisticated cheese in place of the processed yellow hunk of goodness my mom used to use. I like to use freshly grated, white sharp cheddar here but if you want to stick with the classic appeal, go with yellow cheese. I also cut the veggies into bite size pieces for easier mouthfuls and speed of cooking. Serve it up nice a hot and if you’re feeling extra cozy, eat it straight from a bread bowl! Enjoy!
Serves 4 - 6
Bread Bowls or Hunks of Bread for serving
In a large Dutch oven, over medium, heat, add the 2 T olive oil. Saute the onions for 3 minutes, until they start to soften. Add the diced carrots, celery, salt and pepper and continue to cook for another 3 minutes.
Over medium-low heat, add the butter to the pot of veggies. Once melted, stir in the flour (this will create your roux, which thickens the soup) and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Slowly add the chicken broth to the pot while stirring constantly to evenly incorporate the roux mixture without lumps. Add the chicken base and bay leaf to the soup and bring to a simmer.
Simmer the soup over low heat for 10 minutes with the lid ON. Remove the lid and add the potatoes and cauliflower. Continue to simmer with the lid OFF for another 5-7 minutes. Now add the diced broccoli and continue to cook for another 5 – 10 minutes until the broccoli softens but remains a vivid green color.
Stir in the cheese and cream until melted and the soup becomes thick and creamy. Remove the pot from the heat and serve immediately with toasted bread or in a bread bowl!