Broccoli Cheese Soup
Broccoli is packed with vitamin C and fiber. I rarely buy fresh broccoli because frozen is just as nutritious, is less expensive, is pre-cut and will keep for months in the freezer. This soup uses frozen broccoli and has been a staple at my house for years. It’s cheesy and creamy while still being healthy. We love to eat it with crusty whole grain bread and a simple green salad.
Modified from: EatingWell Magazine, Winter 2004
Makes: 6 servings
Takes: about 1 hour max, 30 min if you are fast
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon dry mustard (optional, but adds flavor!)
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth (or 4 cups broth)
1 (16 ounce) bag frozen broccoli cuts (or 1 big head fresh broccoli)
1 cup shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese
½ cup reduced-fat sour cream
⅛ teaspoon salt
1. Prepare your ingredients: Chop onion, carrot and celery, place in a bowl together. Peel and cut the potato. Mince garlic. Keep garlic and potato together. Measure flour, mustard and cayenne pepper, place in a small bowl. Open the cans of chicken broth. Shred and measure the cheese and measure the sour cream.
2. “Sweat” the carrot, onion and celery: Heat oil over medium high heat in a large pot. Add carrot, onion and celery and cook until soft and see through. Do not let them brown. If they are browning before they are see through, turn down the heat. This should take about 7 minutes.
3. Add potato and garlic to the pot, cook 1-2 minutes. Don’t let the garlic burn.
4. Add flour, mustard and cayenne. Stir well so all the vegetables are coated with the flour and spices.
5. Pour in broth. Stir well so no chunks of flour form and no flour is stuck on the bottom of the pan. (I use water and bouillon, it’s much less expensive than cans of broth) Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, cover and reduce heat to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are very soft (low heat on my stove, so that it just bubbles).
6. Add broccoli. Take off the lid and stir in frozen broccoli. Keep lid off and cook 10 more minutes until broccoli is cooked through and soft. (If using fresh broccoli, you'll need to chop it small and cook it a bit longer). You want the broccoli to stay bright green. If you over cook it, it will be brown and mushy. Stop cooking it when you notice it’s bright color starting to fade, even if it's before 10 minutes.
7. Mash some of the vegetables in the pot. Use a blender, immersion blender, potato masher or fork to mash up the vegetables to your liking. You can leave them whole if you want to save time and dishes, but the soup is much better blended in my opinion (and easier for babies to eat)
8. Stir in cheddar cheese and sour cream. Stir until the cheese is melted and serve hot.
***Tips to make this even faster: To make this faster, you can heat the oil in your pot while you cut the veggies. Add the carrot, celery and onion to the pot and let them cook while you cut the potato and garlic. Add potato and garlic, while it is cooking measure and add the flour and spices. Pour in broth. While it boils, shred the cheese and measure the sour cream. Prepare a salad, cut some bread and set the table while the soup is boiling.