After 20 minutes or so, I gathered up our stuff and stepped up to the register and was stunned by the huge stalks of broccoli. They were gorgeous and the price, $1.50 for 2 bunches, was unbelievable. Then, my neighborhood farm stand was offering cauliflower for $.50 a head, so I couldn't resist buying a few. Now my kitchen was filled with these fabulous fall vegetables, but after serving us steamed and/or roasted broc/cauliflower three nights in a row, I needed a change.
I remembered that I love broccoli cheddar soup. Even the industrially produced stuff you get in a cafeteria or a Fridays. Love it. So I scoured the internet for some recipe ideas and found quite a few to go on. Given that I had a plethora of seasonal veggies lying around, I adapted the basic principles for making a creamy soup. The result was stupendous. It was really easy, and, as usual, it made a ton of soup. (I am incapable of making a small amount of soup, I have learned.)
Here's the basic idea:
-Cut up and steam 1 large head of broccoli and 1 large head of cauliflower. If you have leftovers, perfect.
-In a large pot or dutch oven, fry up
- one large chopped onion
- 3-4 celery stalks finely chopped
- 3-4 carrots finely chopped
-Fry up for a few minutes. When the potatoes start to brown up, dump all of the contents of the pan out into a bowl.
-Now use the same pot to make a cream sauce. Turn the heat to medium/low. You could start by deglazing the pot with stock or white wine. But if you want to skip this step, just put 1/2 stick of butter in the pot and let it melt. Don't burn it. That is tragic. When the butter is bubbly, add a 1/4 cup of flour and whisk for a couple of minutes as the flour gets nice and golden.
-Slowly pour in 2 cups of whole milk. You could use some half and half, too, if you are feeling decadent. Whisk constantly as the mixture thickens.
-Add 3 cups of stock (chicken or veggie) and keep stirring.
-Put the all of the cooked veggies in the creamy liquid. If you need to, add more milk/stock to cover the veggies.
-Cook the soup for about 30 minutes or so. You want all of the vegetables to be soft.
-Use an immersion blender to puree the soup. If you don't have an immersion blender, I urge you to get one. They are inexpensive and invaluable for making soup, tomato sauce, smoothies, etc... Seriously, transferring soup to a blender is a pain. Just say no. And just say yes to immersion blenders.
-Add 2-4 cups of grated cheddar cheese, depending on how cheesy you like your soup. You could also add some swiss or Gruyere. I will admit that I added about 1/2 cup of Velveeta.
-Stir it up until the cheese melts. Add salt, pepper to taste and more milk/stock if your soup gets too thick.