Many of my school day mornings began with a warm bowl of homemade broccoli Cheddar soup. I always begged for sugary cereals like Cap'n Crunch but such items simply did not exist in our home. I thank my mom now for those healthy choices, but as a child I thought soup for breakfast was the strangest thing. Fortunately, memories of her hearty cream of broccoli soup entice me to make a potful for my family. Though perhaps for lunch or dinner.
This broccoli cheddar soup recipe is adapted from an old, now out of print edition of Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library Soups. In their version they purée the soup, but I skip that step and simply simmer until thick and creamy. For a pop of color I like to add a bit of thinly sliced carrots and sometimes I add some shredded Cheddar on top just before serving.
Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library Soups (1993)
1 1/2 pound broccoli, trimmed, tough stems peeled, and roughly chopped into small pieces
2 carrots, peeled and julienned (cut into matchsticks)
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups chicken stock, heated
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups whole milk
1/2 pound aged sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and white pepper to taste
Coarsely chop broccoli and set aside. Peel and thinly cut carrots and add to broccoli. Slice onion.
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until they begin to lightly brown, about 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and sauté for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. While whisking continuously, slowly pour in the stock. Add the broccoli, carrots, thyme and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the broccoli and carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.
Stir in milk and cheese and continue to simmer over low for about 5 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
Variation: use cauliflower in place of broccoli.