Cheesy Broccoli & Cheese SoupPosted: October 28, 2011
Well, fall was fun.
It snowed here last night. (Flurries still count as snow, okay? I actually had to scrape ice off of my car this morning, too.)
So what better way to warm up than with a nice hot bowl of soup? Especially one that’s mostly made of potatoes and cheese?
Sure, there are some other veggies in there too. Go with that angle if it helps.
But seriously, this soup will make you feel warm and cozy. It’s creamy and cheesy, with lots of tender bits of broccoli. And the homemade croutons add a salty crunch.
Broccoli & Cheese Soup with Homemade Croutons
For the soup:
– ½ of a medium white onion, finely chopped
– 2 celery stalks, finely diced
– 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
– 1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped
– 1 14.5 oz can of low sodium chicken stock
– 1 pint of half & half
– 2 bay leaves
– 3 cups of chopped broccoli crowns
– 1 ½ cups of shredded sharp cheddar
– Salt & pepper (1 teaspoon, ¼ teaspoon)
– 1 teaspoon of cracked red pepper (optional)
– 1 tablespoon of sour cream (optional)
– Olive oil
For the croutons:
– Some day-old bread
– Olive oil
– Salt & pepper
– Garlic salt
To make the soup, heat a few tablespoons of oil and butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, half & half, chopped potatoes, the bay leaves, 1 can of water (use the chicken stock can), 1 teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl, add a few tablespoons of water, season with salt and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
When the potatoes are tender, remove the bay leaves, transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. If you have a small-ish blender like me, do this in 2 batches. Make sure to leave the cap slightly open to let the steam out. (Or, use an immersion blender right in the pot.)
Return the soup back to the pot and thin out with additional water, if necessary. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and stir in the broccoli and season with additional salt and pepper, and if you want, cracked red pepper. Then add the cheese and stir until completely melted. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with croutons, and eat.
To make your own croutons:
Heat your oven to 350º.
Cut the bread into cubes. Place the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet, toss them with a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, tossing once, until they’re golden brown on all sides. Remove them from the oven and lightly season with garlic salt. Let them cool to room temperature before using. Or store the croutons in an airtight container until ready to use.