Thursday, January 5, 2012

Broccoli Cheese Soup

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I'm starting to give up on getting decent photos of my food now that winter is here and it's dark by the time dinner is ready. So, I'm pulling photos from the interwebs and linking back their original site.

I love broccoli cheese soup. But I've had a hard time finding a recipe I really love. My favorite broccoli cheese soup is at Sweet Tomatoes - it has a slight kick to it. Last time I had it I looked very closely and noticed tiny red-orange specks floating around and realized the secret ingredient: cayenne pepper. I've included it as an optional ingredient and highly recommend adding at least a dash.

This recipe is adapted from The Pioneer Woman. Ree tends to think like Paula Deen, meaning "the more butter the better." I lightened this up a bit so that it doesn't cause a coronary.

adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

1/4 cup butter (1/2 a stick)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped onions
4 cups milk (I used 1%)
2 cups fat-free half-and-half
2-3 cups broccoli florets
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (or just a dash), optional
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups shredded cheese (I like sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack)

Melt butter in a pot over medium heat and add the onions. Cook onions until translucent (about 3-4 minutes), then whisk in flour. Stir to combine and cook for a minute or so and then slowly whisk in the milk and half-and-half. Add garlic powder, cayenne, nutmeg, and broccoli florets. Bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until broccoli is soft. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, pulse soup until smooth. Return to pot and keep warm. Add cheese and stir until melted. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve in a bread bowl or with sliced french bread.

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