Cheesy Broccoli Soup

Lately this has become my “go-to” way to prepare broccoli. There isn’t as much heaviness as you might think with it’s ultra-creamy flavor, by using half and half and vegetable stock, a robust flavor can be achieved with the addition of spices such as mustard powder and a pinch of cayenne. (The cayenne is minimal, and it doesn’t make the soup spicy, instead it just gives a depth of flavor).

Broccoli is in season in the autumn and winter, and is rich in dietary fiber which helps maintain healthy digestion. While some recent trends serve raw broccoli florets as crudités, I believe that the raw, sulfury taste is a drawback. Cooked broccoli is easier to digest.

Along with twice the vitamin C of an orange, as well as vitamin A and K, broccoli also contains important phytonutrients and antioxidant compounds that boost your immune system, especially in the cold winter months. When paired with garlic and cheese, you just might find your whole family craving this soul-warming soup. Culinary creativity comes from understanding how the most imaginative chefs use flavor combinations to create impact. I’m a huge fan of simplicity with ingredients, so it’s no surprise this soup contains just a few simple ingredients, yet creates a big impact among all ages.

Begin by sprinkling the garlic, mustard powder and cayenne on your broccoli. To do so, I think it’s easier to put it in a gallon size plastic bag and shake it around to coat the broccoli. Roast the broccoli in the oven on a parchment lined baking sheet at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. While the broccoli is roasting, make the base of your soup by starting with a roux. Although it sounds fancy, a roux is just equal parts butter and flour. For this recipe, I recommend using 4 tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup of flour. Whisk over medium heat until it’s thick and creamy. Slowly add 1 cup of half and half and whisk to combine. While the mixture is simmering, sauté a small onion in a separate pan with a splash of olive oil, salt and pepper. Once the onion is translucent, use a blender or an immersion blender to puree it. Add the puree back to the soup mixture, and then slowly incorporate 2-3 cups of grated cheddar cheese and warm vegetable broth (I heat the broth in another pot while sautéing the onion). Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is velvety. Once the broccoli comes out of the oven, add it to the soup pot and continue to simmer for about 15 more minutes. Serve with a sprinkle of grated cheese.

Large head of broccoli, cleaned and cut into florets. Use the stems too if desired.
2 cups vegetable broth, heated
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small vidalia onion
2-3 cups of grated cheddar cheese (I prefer to grate my own as it’s fresher and melts better than buying a package of grated cheese). Use as much cheese as you prefer.
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. mustard powder
salt & pepper to taste
sprinkle of olive oil to sauté the onion

4 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup flour

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