Have I waited long enough between posts expressing my love for all things cruciferous? No? Well, I’ll apologize in advance, because I’m ready to talk broccoli again!
We often buy the gigantic 3lb bag of broccoli florets from Costco, and then munch on it for two weeks or so while using it in various ways – snacks, salads, roasting – you know, all the best broccoli stuff. I always keep it pretty plain, and feel no need to douse it in butter or sauce or cheese, but I’m making an exception for this soup. It’s super rich, super creamy, super cheesy AND super broccoli-y!
A week or two ago we went shopping (a momentous occasion in itself as of late), and it felt like a weight had been lifted, as though having the house on the market was some sort of magical switch that meant our lives were finally back to normal. As part of that, I bought our usual (well, usual for what feels like a million years ago, before this house transition thing started) bag of broccoli.
When we were on this landmark shopping trip, I honestly believed this was the start of cooking and eating like normal (again, months ago normal) and losing this new 5lbs of what I have to assume is pure boxed whole wheat pasta and Whole Foods take-and-bake pizza that I’m carrying around.
As it turned out, that was a little premature, and our beautiful bag of broccoli went nearly untouched for a week and a half.
I may be busy and stressed and not quite liking my new kitchen, but there’s one thing that hasn’t changed: I’ll never let good broccoli go uneaten. Usually when we’ve eaten less broccoli than planned, or we’re about to go out of town, I’ll just toss what’s left in with some oil and roast it, but this was a serious situation – I think we had about 2lbs 14oz of broccoli left in that bag. Heck if I had one of those food bag re-sealers I could’ve probably returned it to the store!
So, we started thinking about what an entire buttload of broccoli would be useful for, and largely due to the crisp fall air, the first thing that came to mind was broccoli-cheese soup. When searching for recipe inspiration, we quickly realized that most recipes don’t actually call for that much broccoli at all! Maybe a couple of heads, but certainly not THREE POUNDS of broccoli. So, I did what any vegetarian food blogger would do – I said to heck with the entire internet’s idea of broccoli-cheese soup, and proclaimed “I WILL MAKE A BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP MADE PRIMARILY FROM BROCCOLI BECAUSE BROCCOLI IS THE FIRST WORD IN THE NAME OF THE SOUP AND THAT SEEMS LIKE THE NATURAL THING TO DO!”
…ok, not really. But I did decide that all of the broccoli was going in the soup, consequences be damned.
Many recipes will call for you to mash your cooked broccoli at some point, while others suggest blending it all in a blender, but I’m lazy when it comes to that sort of thing, so I used my food processor to grate my raw broccoli florets, then poured them in with the simmering cream. That simple shortcut makes this a super easy hands-off dish, and the vast majority of the cooking time is unattended simmering!
I will warn you that the huge amount of broccoli makes this a thicker soup, almost a broccoli-cheese stew or thick chowder, but the cream and cheese will still give it the nice creamy consistency you’d expect. If you’d prefer things a little thinner you could certainly cut down on the broccoli without much additional adjustment, but I’d encourage you to give it a try fully broccolied, especially if you have access to a $4 giant bag from Costco! 😉
- 6 Tablespoons butter
- 1 onion
- 6 carrots peeled
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup ultragrain flour
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups half and half
- 2 dry bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 lbs broccoli cut into florets, reserve 1c of smaller 1/2"-1" florets
- 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese grated
Melt butter in a large stock pot. Meanwhile, using a food processor, grate onion, carrots, and garlic.
Add grated vegetables to the butter, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Add flour and mix together well, then stir for about a minute.
Add vegetable broth and half and half, then whisk until smooth. Stir in bay leaves, nutmeg, and 1 cup of reserved small broccoli florets. Bring mixture to a boil, then cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, grate the remaining broccoli using the grater plate of a food processor.
Remove the bay leaves. Add grated broccoli, cover, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
Gradually add grated cheese and whisk until well combined.