The final broccoli dish I prepared is this Broccoli Cheddar Soup, perfect timing since broccoli season in North Carolina technically ends today. (Procrastinate? Me? Only all of the times.) This recipe also requires the use of a food processor or a blender, but if you haven’t bought a food processor yet, go get one. They’re amazing. Also, advance apologies here: I could have sworn I took pictures of this process, and now I can’t find them anywhere. Who knows where in the black hole of the interwebs they ended up? I do have a picture of the final product though. Read on!
I started off sauteing half a chopped red onion in 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat, and then set that aside. Then I made a roux by whisking together 1/4 cup melted butter and 1/4 cup flour over medium heat for a few minutes. Then, as I whisked, I added 2 cups half-and-half and then 1 cup chicken broth and 1 cup beef broth. (The original recipe called for 2 cups chicken broth, but I had some leftover beef broth from another recipe, so I just mixed that in. If you need a vegetarian soup, just use a strongly flavored vegetable broth.) Once all this was together, I turned the heat down to low and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
Now for the veggies. I added in 3 cups chopped broccoli, 1 cup shredded carrots, 1 cup shredded red cabbage, and the cooked onions. I continued cooking everything over low heat for about 20 minutes. I added in a little bit of salt and pepper, and then 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.
The soup was fairly thick by this point. I poured it in batches into the food processor (or you could use a blender), and after blending each batch, returned it to the pot over low heat. Once all the soup was back in the pot, I stirred in 3 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese – about half white cheddar and half regular cheddar, since that’s what I had in the fridge. And that was that! I had a bit for dinner, and then saved half for lunch the next day and half for the freezer for later.
How Sue Sees It:
I think this would make a great side dish, but it wasn’t really good enough to satisfy me for a main dish. The original recipe claimed to be just like Panera Bread, which was just not true. I know I didn’t follow it exactly, but there’s no way that beef instead of chicken broth and a handful of cabbage made that much of a difference. It just wasn’t cheesy or creamy enough. I kind of figure that to get even more cheese flavor, this would have to be extremely unhealthy. And if it’s going to be that unhealthy, I shouldn’t eat it very often, so instead of trying to make it myself, I’ll probably just go to Panera when I need to satisfy my cheesy craving. So honestly, even though this soup was decent, I probably won’t be making it again.
If you do try to make it yourself, I recommend steaming the vegetables separately beforehand. I’m not sure the vegetables cooked well enough — the soup ended up with a slightly grainy texture.