Saturday, January 21, 2012

Easy Cheesy Broccoli Soup

(This recipe was first posted in conjunction with the Meijer Ad Week of 1/22/12-1/28/12)

This thick and hearty variation on the classic cream of broccoli soup is similar to the Panera Bread version.

5 cups fresh broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup shredded or finely chopped carrots
1/4 cup diced onion (optional) OR 3/4 tsp onion powder
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
5 1/2 cups milk
1 cup water
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Place broccoli and carrots (and onions, if desired) in a large pot.  Cover with water.  Boil 10-12 minutes.  Drain and set aside in a colander.  In the same pot, melt margarine over medium heat.  Add flour and salt (and onion powder, if desired).  Stir with a whisk.  Mixture will be very thick.  Gradually add milk and water, whisking continually over medium-low heat.  After all the milk and water has been added, cook 5 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly, stirring or whisking often.  Reduce heat to low and dump in all the cheese.  Stir until cheese is melted.  Add cooked broccoli and carrots, and cook on low 5 more minutes.  Serve with bread and/or salad.

Options and Tips
  • You might notice that I didn't put any salt into this soup.  That's because I'm completely paranoid about over-salting while's happened to me too many times!  I think this soup could use some salt, but we just add it at the table.
  • This makes a very large batch, so halve it for smaller families...or make the full recipe and freeze half of it.  In spite of the milk and cheese, it really does freeze well, with only a little separation after thawing.  If it's too thick after thawing, just add a little more milk when warming it up in the pan.
  • Frozen broccoli is easily substituted.  You'll need about two 16 oz bags.
  • The cheesy, creamy base of this soup is so can be used as a starting point for many different soups.  Use your imagination!  Try cauliflower and potatoes instead of broccoli and carrots, or add corn and diced red pepper for a flavorful twist.  Use shredded sharp cheddar or swiss, or try shredded pepper jack for a kick (thanks to Cathie for that idea!).
  • I don't use very much salt in this soup, but you might prefer it saltier.
  • Can't get away with a meatless entree at your dinner table?  Just add diced ham or diced, cooked chicken when you add the cooked vegetables to the pot.
  • If you prefer to use broccoli flowerets only, don't throw away the stems!  Recipe coming later this week!

This is an original recipe, kind of a hodge podge of three different recipes...and it was very good for me to write this down, because it made me measure everything!

1 comment:

  1. I tried this soup & didn't care for it. It just wasn't cheesy enough. I thought that this recipe is probably healthier, than the recipe that I usually make, but my family prefers the "cheesier" soup.