Before heading out of town on vacation, I had time to make one of my favorite cold weather dishes – Broccoli Cheese Soup. Not only does this taste great on the first day, but it’s perfect for lunch the following afternoon. I like to enjoy this soup with a piece of crusty bread – especially homemade boule. A few items to note about this recipe:
- depending on how rich (and healthy) you want the soup to be, you can use either milk or heavy cream
- garnish the soup with a little sauteed broccoli or homemade croutons (see directions below)
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1/2 medium chopped onion
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups milk or heavy cream
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 pound fresh broccoli
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 8 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper
Saute the onion in the butter and set aside. Cook the melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes – stir constantly and then add the milk or heavy cream. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the broccoli and onions to the soup and cook over low heat for an additional 20-25 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Take 1/2 of the soup and puree it in a blender, then add it back to the pot with the remainder of the soup. Stir in the cheese and nutmeg.
Cut French bread or boule into 1/2-inch cubes. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan. Add the bread cubes to the pan and sprinkle with salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently – 5 to 10 minutes or until nicely browned. Add more olive oil as needed.
adapted from Panera Bread’s Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe