Broccoli and “Real” Cheese Soup to Warm the Soul

Cheesy broccoli soupToday, in eastern PA, the weather is rainy and chilly…making me crave a hearty bowl of broccoli and cheese soup. It’s one of those comfort foods that makes me feel all warm and cozy inside. Not to mention it freezes like a dream and leftovers are the bomb! No fuss no muss! Yeah baby!

This simple recipe can be whipped up and ready to eat in approximately 50 minutes! Be prepared to add this cheesy soup recipe to your family’s regularly requested staple meals.

Not only is this soup absolutely to die for, but it’s not full of the imitation cheese products and a laundry list of preservatives that are found in canned soups. Most creamy soup recipes call for a creamed soup product that defeats the whole purpose of homemade and healthy. Yeah…it’s real…the cheese is real! I’m not just being cheesy. We don’t eat Velveeta or imitation cheese products in our house. It’s got to be the real deal.

Prep Time: 20 min. / Cook Time: 30 min. / Total Time: 50 min.

INGREDIENTS

  • one large head or bunch of fresh broccoli
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese (reserve a 1/2 cup for garnish)
  • 1 cup of regular gouda cheese (freshly grated)
  • 1 cup of freshly grated carrots – optional
  • 1 small white onion to make 2/3 – 1 cup of finely chopped)
  • 2-3 large cloves of garlic, minced (use more garlic if you love garlic!)
  • 1 cup of half and half, or you could substitute creamy canned coconut milk (at room temp).
  • 3 TBSP all purpose flour (if you are wheat sensitive use rice flour)
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp dried basil
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt – to taste
  • pinch of black pepper – to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Dice and chop all veggies: mince garlic, shred carrots, and chop most of the stems off the broccoli. Use only the florets. I prefer my broccoli to be chunky. You can make yours smaller or however you wish. Chop up onions to make them super small!
  2. Pour chicken stock into a medium sized pot, on medium – high heat, throw in the broccoli (about 3 cups), add onion, garlic, carrots, and the bay leaf. Simmer on medium heat, covered, for 15 – 20 minutes or until broccoli is tender.
  3. After the broth is done you can prepare the roux. In a large soup pot, melt 3 TBSP of butter on medium heat. Whisk, continuously, until melted, then add in the flour slowly while you continue to whisk.
  4. Remove the roux from heat. Use a ladle to pour some of the soup broth into the roux mixture. Stir, then add in the rest of the soup broth and veggies into the roux mixture. You can remove the bay leaf.
  5. Stir in 1 cup of half/half, full cream, or full fat coconut milk, whichever you prefer.
  6. Cook soup on low heat. Leave uncovered. Be sure to keep the temp low, so as not to curdle the cheese when it’s added!
  7. Add dried spices and seasonings – garlic, nutmeg, allspice, etc. Don’t add the salt and pepper until later. Cheese already has salt in it, so you may not need it.
  8. Once the soup is warmed up, add in the cheese a little at a time and remove the pot from the heat. Stir to incorporate until all cheese has melted.
  9. Serve into bowls and garnish with extra sharp cheddar cheese. Yum!!

Try your own substitutions or side-kicks to make this soup your own! Consider these options:

  1. Add some fresh crumbled bacon if you are craving some meat in your cheesy broccoli soup. Who doesn’t love bacon?
  2. Add in extra garlic for a little kick and to boost the immune system during the winter months.
  3. We like to add hard boiled eggs to our soups. If you like eggs in your soup, go ahead! Garnish your soup up!
  4. Garnish with fresh scallions for some added onion flavor.
  5. Pair with a nice chunk of crusty, herb infused bread for dipping!

By Colleen Moriarty, DR Vitamin Solutions