A lot of people carry a grudge against Fall for its bitter winds, chilly days, and even colder nights. Most of all, they hate to see Summer’s passing. One thing I have found, however, is that what all people love about Fall is its food. Fall has the coziest, warmest, most comforting foods the year has to offer. Everyone, even the Anti-Autumns, rejoice to see the return of pumpkin, squash, soup, apple, and all kinds of baked goods filled with warm spices.
Winter’s got some good stuff, but Fall is really where it’s at. We all love it. Some take enjoyment in cozying up and sipping cider (or perhaps munching on a fresh cider donut); others prefer filling the house with the sweet spices of Fall while baking. Many enjoy a good slow-cooked meal or the promise of a Thanksgiving feast in the near future. At the very least, we can look forward to the sugary Halloween candy. Autumn truly is a cornucopia of delightful eats.
One Fall food I really adore is soup. Soup spills over into Winter as well, which makes sense considering it’s perfect for combating the cold weather. I just love to sit down to a warm bowl of creamy soup and spoon in mouthfuls of comforting goodness. One of my favorite soup flavors, loved by vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, is broccoli cheese. If you’re anything like me, you grew up eating the Campbell’s version out of a can. That stuff was pretty good. Nowadays though, we all have a more experienced and picky palate; therefore, it may take more than Campbell’s to please us. Enter this homemade Broccoli-Cheddar Soup.
I don’t know about you, but some broccoli cheese soups just aren’t very substantial. I need something hearty, something satisfying to really fill me up on a chilly evening. This Broccoli-Cheddar Soup is the answer to all my wimpy-soup problems. It is a substantial soup, my little cookies. How can that be, you ask? Because it’s got Russet and Sweet potatoes thrown into the mix to really bulk it up. It get pureed down to whatever chunky or smooth consistency you like, so the potatoes aren’t the focus. Let us not forget, this is a Broccoli Cheese soup! No, the potatoes are merely there to give the soup something to stand on, to add an extra level of flavor, texture, and comfort. Moreover, there is TONS of cheese in this soup, mounds of tangy sharp cheddar. Hello, delicious!
If you’re looking for a new take on a classic soup, then this one’s for you. Serve it up with some good bread for dipping and you’ve got yourself a meal!
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- I know you’re going to look at this recipe and see a pound of cheese and think I’ve gone off my rocker. True, this recipe did originally call for 1/3 of a pound of cheese. Well, I added that much and I couldn’t taste the cheese at all. Here’s what I suggest: have the pound at the ready, start by adding the 1/3 lb., and add more until it reaches your desired cheesiness!
- Yes, this dish is suitable for meat-eaters and vegetarians! Carnivores, use your chicken stock. Veg-heads, use your vegetable stock!
- This does take a little bit of prep. My mother and I made the soup base early in the afternoon, then, when we were ready to serve, heated the soup back up, added the broccoli, and melted in the cheese.
- Double the recipe and freeze half for a ready-made dinner another night!
Recipe adapted from The Food Network Magazine
- Yield: 4 servings
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable stock
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups chopped broccoli florets
- 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- Fresh bread, for dipping, or croutons, for topping (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth or vegetable stock, half-and-half, both potatoes, bay leaf, 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put the broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl; add 3 tablespoons water and season with salt. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes; drain.
- When the potatoes are tender, remove the bay leaf from the soup and transfer the soup to a blender. Puree until smooth, leaving the filler cap slightly open to let steam escape (or puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender). Return the soup to the pot and thin with water, if necessary. Return to a simmer over medium-low heat; stir in the broccoli and season with salt and pepper.
- Add 1/3 of the cheese and stir until melted. Continue to add in cheese until it reaches your desired flavor. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with bread or croutons, if desired.
Per serving: Calories 589; Fat 34 g (Saturated 18 g); Cholesterol 97 mg; Sodium 931 mg; Carbohydrate 50 g; Fiber 8 g; Protein 22 g