broccoli cheese soup: food blog
so what do you do after the holidays are over, and the refrigerator is stuffed full of leftover ingredients from the feasting season? i always look at what's jammed in there, and try to come up with a winner using it all up. i've dreamed up stuff like ham and bean soup using leftover t-day ham bones, and baked potato soup using leftover spuds and other goodies, as well as turkey veggie soup. all from stuff left over from the gluttonous revelry that is the holidays.
so i had a ton of cheese left over from the cheese balls i made as appetizers. hmmmmmm. i hate to see perfectly good shredded cheese go to waste. but what the hell do you use a whole pound of left over shredded cheese on, before it turns into a weird fridge biology experiment? hmmmmmm. there's a big bag of left over broccoli florets from the salad i made. hmmmmmm.........!!!! broccoli and cheese soup!!!!!
so i grabbed a bunch of stuff out of the cold box, and started writing down what i was gathering. sometimes i come up with something that is so good i want to make it again. unfortunately, i usually DON'T write down what i did. so, what looks good. i have most of a yellow onion left, a bunch of 1/2 and 1/2 i bought for those weirdos that like to pollute their coffee during dessert. celery, yup, that'll work. so......
Broccoli and Cheese Soup
- 1 stick butter
- 3/4 yellow onion, chopped (hey that's what i had leftover from the cheese balls! use more or less as you like)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 4 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large can (49 1/2 oz)low sodium chicken broth
- really big (pig sized) pinch kosher salt
- 20 grinds pepper, coarse
- dash nutmeg
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup 1/2 and 1/2
- 1 pound (4 cups) shredded cheddar and jack cheese blend. hey, that's what i had. regular cheddar would rock too.
melt the butter in a big enough pot to hold everything. saute the onion, celery, and garlic until soft, a couple of minutes.
add the flour in all at once, and mix until all the butter is absorbed. cook for a minute or two. slowly add the chicken broth, stirring to dissolve the roux. add the milk and 1/2 and 1/2, and bring to a boil. toss in the broccoli, allow to come back up to a light boil, and then turn the heat down to simmer. toss in the rest of the ingredients, except the cheese, and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the broccoli is nice and tender (soft).
remove the pot from the stove, and blend the soup until you get a smooth consistency. i used a stick blender, but a regular blender will work. just let the soup cool down a bit before buzzing it in a blender, or else you will be wearing it. hot soup splattering all over the kitchen is not a good thing.
if you let it cool to blend, put back on the stove and bring to a very light boil, then take it off the heat.
add cheese a handful at a time. stir until melted, and then add the next handful. continue until all the cheese is melted. you may find that you will need to heat the soup on low to get the last of the cheese melted. i didn't, but that's because i used an enameled cast iron dutch oven to make this in, and it holds the heat like a champ. i really like the enameled lodge cookware. sturdy, well made, and way way way less per piece than comparable cookware made by a famous french manufacturer that shall remain nameless.
be gentle with the heat after adding the cheese, or else you may end up with a really grainy soup. if you want to reheat leftovers, do so gently. do not allow to come to a boil!!!
as always, if you try this recipe, or it inspires you to try something different, please let me know how it turned out. i'm always looking for fresh and clever ideas to improve my own cooking skills and recipes.
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