Cream of Broccoli with Cheddar Cheese Soup

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

School vacation week.  Normally I dread it but I this month, I welcomed slowing down, not having to drive the kids here and there and wake up every morning before dawn to get everything accomplished in a day.  And the kids were actually pretty good, except for Wednesday (Soup delivery day).  Whenever I have something on my agenda that is important to me, I swear they sense it and do everything they can to throw me over the edge of all reason.  That and the fact that they started their day with dentist appointments probably didn’t help, either.  But in spite of all that, me and Punch and Judy managed to get all the soup delivered without killing each other.

Cream of Broccoli with Cheddar Cheese Soup is a few of my customers’ favorite.  Who doesn’t  dream about dunking a crusty piece of homemade bread into warm cream and sharp cheddar cheesy goodness?  I puree the broccoli so according to one of my special customers    ( btw, they are all special), ” I love that it didn’t have big chunks of broccoli so the flavor of the cheddar and the sweetness of the carrots was not “interrupted” by a mouthful of broccoli yet you still get the broccoli flavor.”  I couldn’t have said it better, myself!

Cream of Broccoli with Cheddar Cheese Soup

serves 4-6

6 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, chopped

1/4 cup AP flour

2 cups whole milk, warm

3 cups chicken broth

2 bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

salt and pepper

4 cups broccoli florets (about one large head)

1 large carrot, diced

2 1/2 cups (about 8 oz) grated sharp cheddar cheese (mix yellow and white)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

dash Worcestershire sauce

Melt butter in a stock pot over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Whisk in flour and cook until golden.  Gradually whisk in warm milk until smooth.  Add chicken broth, bay leaves and nutmeg.  Season with salt and pepper, if necessary.  Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to med/low-low and cook uncovered until thickened (about 20 minutes).

Add the broccoli and carrot to the soup mixture.  Simmer until tender (about 20 minutes).  Discard bay leaves.  Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth.  Add the grated cheese to the soup and stir until melted.  Add Dijon mustard and Worcestershire.  Stir to combine.  If soup is too thick, add more chicken stock. 

Fresh Chive Butter

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

dash Tabasco sauce

dash cider vinegar

1 small bunch fresh chives, chopped fine (about 1/4 cup)

Puree butter, salt, pepper, Tabasco sauce and cider vinegar in a Kitchen Aid with paddle attachment.  Add chives.  Combine thoroughly.  Slather on fresh bread and enjoy.

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