Broccoli and Cheese Soup

We've had cold weather here in Las Vegas recently. So cold in fact, Sin City was blanketed in pure white snow.

Downtown Las Vegas near Fremont Street only got a light dusting of snow. But outlying areas of Las Vegas closer to the mountains got as much as 7.5” of snow on the ground

Downtown Las Vegas near Fremont Street only got a light dusting of snow. But outlying areas of Las Vegas closer to the mountains got as much as 7.5” of snow on the ground

This is the perfect time for a hot bowl of creamy, cheesy Broccoli soup. It's one of those wintertime comfort foods. Even the most picky eaters usually will dive into this delicious dinnertime treat. Serve it in a bread bowl (recipe to follow) or pair with some crackers on the side. You can even serve a side of fresh veggies like celery stalks to dip into this smooth, cheesy soup.

Braving the freezing temperatures in usually warm and sunny Las Vegas to get a picture when a big, fat, snowflake attacked me. See, right there! I have evidence of the chilling attack. There once was a girl with a little curl… uh, snowflake, right in the middle of her forehead.

Braving the freezing temperatures in usually warm and sunny Las Vegas to get a picture when a big, fat, snowflake attacked me. See, right there! I have evidence of the chilling attack. There once was a girl with a little curl… uh, snowflake, right in the middle of her forehead.

Broccoli and Cheese soup is one of our favorites. In the past though, I have made it using processed ingredients like creamy cheese spread in a jar (the kind used to make Nachos or Queso. These recipes are great for cooking in small spaces because they don't take a lot of ingredients or preparation space. They taste pretty good too.

But there had to be a better way, a healthier way. If you're like me you enjoy both the easy meals, and the old-fashioned, from-scratch meals that are usually healthier due ot less preservatives and other additives. Neither way is "better" or "worse." It's just a matter of preference.

After watching one of my favorite chef's (Kenneth Temple) make a homemade baked Macaroni and Cheese dish, one that I intend to try just as soon as Allen is home, I had an epiphany! With a bit of experimenting and countless searches online, I was able to put together a delicious, from-scratch recipe for one of our favorite soups.

The great thing about this recipe, and really any from scratch recipe, is that it is easy to make substitutions depending on your personal tastes and items on hand. Don't have fresh garlic? Used minced garlic in a jar. Onion powder and Garlic powder can be used as well. Don't like cauliflower or carrots? Leave them out. Don't have heavy cream? Use whole milk, half and half, or even evaporated milk. Like your food spicy? Add some crushed red pepper flakes or a few drops of your favorite hot sauce. You can use all Cheddar (sharp or extra sharp if you have it, but medium works too). Or you can add in other cheeses for a richer flavor. The base of the soup is basically a creamy fondue only thinner. So be creative.

Broccoli and Cheese soup served hot with a side of homemade peasant bread hot from the oven.

Broccoli and Cheese soup served hot with a side of homemade peasant bread hot from the oven.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup Butter
1 small yellow Onion (diced)
4 cloves Garlic (minced)
2 Carrots (grated)
1 stalk Celery (diced)
1/3 cup Flour
2 cups Chicken (Or Veggie) stock
1 cup Water
1 tsp Chicken (or Veggie) Bouillon
1 cups Heavy Cream
1 cup Whole Milk
1 tsp Mustard Powder
½ tsp Paprika
½ tsp Celery Seed (optional)
1 TBSP Garlic Powder
1½ cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
½ cup Shredded Mozzarella
1 lb Broccoli Florets
¼ – ½ lb Cauliflower Florets (optional)
1 TBSP Corn Starch** (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

*Can use 2 cups half and half, or 2 cups whole milk

Instructions:

  1. Melt butter over med-high heat in large sauce pan. Add onion, garlic, celery, and about ¼ of the shredded carrots. Saute' until soft and onions are translucent.
  2. Stir in flour and cook while continuing to stir until flour is just barely golden brown. (the lighter in color the flour/rue the more thickening power it has. Darker rue's have less thickening power.)
  3. Reduce heat to med/med-low and pour in Chicken Stock. Stir until flour is well absorbed. Add Milk, Cream, Water, salt, pepper, mustard powder, celery seed, paprika, and cook for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally.
  4. Add Broccoli, Cauliflower, and remaining Carrots and simmer gently for 20 minutes until veggies are tender. (Alternatively, you can steam the veggies ahead of time and add them just before you add the cheese.)
  5. Add cheese and stir continuously until combined and melted. Continue to cook over med-low heat while stirring regularly for another 10-15 minutes.

Serve in bread bowls or regular bowls with bread or crackers on the side. Top with fresh parsley.

**If soup is too thin, you can dissolved 1-2 TBSP of Corn Starch in a little bit of water and add to soup, and let simmer while stirring.

Makes 8 servings.

Did you make this? Tell tell me how it turned out below. Did you make changes? Substitutions? Additions? Share below. I'd love to see your pictures.

~Sierra Sugar