Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cream of Broccoli Soup with White Cheddar and Bacon

"Uhh, what is the Soup du Jour?"
"It's the soup of the day"
"Mmm.. that sounds good.  I'll have that."
-Dumb and Dumber

Soup!  I love making soups.  There are so many different kinds and most are so easy to make.  And not to mention everything is in one pot!  I love one pot meals too.  They make life easier.  At work a few days ago, I needed to make a soup for service.  I decided on cream of broccoli because it's simple and delicious.  I also love broccoli cheddar soup, so I decided to combine the two.  It turned out great!  My co-workers and our guests really seemed to like it so I quickly tried to write down everything I put in it.  I've cut this recipe down a bit because I made several gallons for the restaurant!  Here's the recipe: :)

Extra-virgin olive oil
1.5 lb Broccoli florets, rough chop
2 Onions, rough chop
1 small Carrot, rough chop
4 ribs Celery, rough chop
5 Garlic cloves, crushed
6 cups Chicken or vegetable stock
A few springs each thyme, rosemary, parsley 
1.5 c Heavy cream
1 stick of unsalted Butter
About 1 C Flour
Sharp white cheddar cheese
Scallions, thinly sliced

Heat a large pot over medium heat.

Add enough extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.

Rough chop the onion, celery and carrot into about 1 inch pieces.

When the oil is hot, add in the roughly chopped vegetables and season generously with salt.

Sweat the vegetables until they start to get soft.  This will take about 15 minutes.

When the vegetables have softened a bit, add in the crushed garlic cloves.  Cook for 5 more minutes.

Add in the broccoli.  The broccoli is going to start turning bright green.  When you see that the broccoli is nice and green, add in the stock.  

Bring to a boil then lower the heat.  Add in the sprigs of fresh herbs.  You can tie them together with butchers twine so it's easier to fish them out later.  Let simmer for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, check the tenderness of the broccoli.  It should be tender but not extremely soft.  Once you've achieved the right texture, it's time to puree.

Pick out the sprigs of herbs before you puree!

Grab your blender.  Make sure you have another pot or a big bowl handy.  Being extra careful because the soup is really hot, ladle enough soup into the blender to fill it about half way.  Puree to the consistency you like.  I like mine pretty smooth.  Pour the pureed soup into the other pot or bowl and keep repeating this process until you have pureed all of the soup.  

Pour everything back into the original pot if you've used a bowl while pureeing and put it back on the stove on medium low heat.  Add some black or crushed red pepper to your liking and adjust the salt if needed.  It will probably need more salt!

Stir in the cream.

Now it's time to make a roux.  A roux is made with equal parts, by weight, of fat and flour.  It's used as a thickening agent for soups and sauces.  This is going to make our soup thick and creamy and add flavor.  Melt 1 stick of butter (4 oz) over medium heat in a saute pan.  When it's melted, whisk in 1 cup of flour (usually about 4 oz).  That's it!

Slowly whisk the roux into the soup.  You'll see it begin to thicken.  Keep stirring occasionally for 10 more minutes.

The soup is all done!  Now it's time to prepare the toppings.

Cook the bacon any way you'd like.  You can dice it up and cook it in a pan, then drain it on a paper towel, or you can bake whole strips in the oven.  Slice the scallions and crumble some sharp white cheddar cheese.

Pour some soup into a big bowl then sprinkle some white cheddar over the top along with some bacon and scallions.  Delicious!

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