And here is a post with NO CHILES! It finally got cold enough in DFW to have a hot bowl of soup. In fact, we got down to the upper 30s on Sunday and it warmed up into the lower 50s. Monday & Tuesday were the upper 30s and then into the mid 60s. That was it. In the meantime, while the US East Coast is getting hammered by Sandy and accompanying snow, we’re creeping back to the 80s with sunny skies. So, I’m glad I made the soup when we had the opportunity. Looks pretty tasty doesn’t it?
The weather in Texas is being really odd this year. Typically we see lows in the 50s and highs in the upper 70s. This year, however, we have had 17 days over 80 F and 14 days where the low was above 60 F. Now, don’t get me wrong. This is beautiful weather and I love it. The sky gets so blue in the Fall and Winter. This is one of the reasons I have stayed in Texas the vast majority of my life. It’s hard to beat the weather, except in the summer which is brutally hot. Nonetheless, it’s so hard to enjoy a beautiful warm bowl of soup, chili or stew when it’s 80 F outside. So, when we had our little 3 day cold snap, I had to make soup and I had a hankerin for some broccoli cheese soup. Off to the market I went fully equipped with the knowledge of what I needed for dinner. Immediately, I went for the produce aisle to get the fresh broccoli I needed. Nestled in the bin were beautifully trimmed broccoli crowns for $1.99/lb. Not a bad price but I am making broccoli cheese soup and I need those tasty trunks that are full of flavor and no one wants. With a little more searching, lo and behold I found them. Organic ones, no less, for $2.99/lb. I don’t think so. I searched a little longer and there they were, non organic broccolis with the long, thick stems for only $2.99/lb. What an absolute riot! You would definitely think the broccoli crowns would be more expensive because they have to trim the stems. Hence, you have a smaller yield. Logic and business, however, don’t always go hand-in-hand. I bought the broccoli crowns. Momma didn’t rear no stupid children. This is a wonderful soup guaranteed to please.
- 2 lbs broccoli crowns
- 3 qts chicken stock (preferably homemade)
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 lb extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 6 Tbsp butter
- 6 Tbsp flour
- 1 cup heavy cream
- salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Cut the broccoli into bite sized florets, removing as much stem as possible. Cut the stem into chunks. You will need roughly 2 cups of chopped broccoli stems as this is what is going to provide the broccoli flavor for the soup base.
Pour the chicken stock into a large, heavy bottom pot.
Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Add the chopped broccoli stems
Now, add the wine
Let it return to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes to let the stems fully cook until soft. When the stems are soft, puree the mixture with an immersion blender.
Let simmer a little longer. While the soup base is simmering, over medium heat, melt the butter in a small saucepan. When completely melted, add the flour and whisk to incorporate. For those of you unfamiliar with the process, this is how you make a white roux.
Cook over medium heat until you smell a mild nutty aroma, similar to hazelnuts roasting. Immediately remove from the heat continuing to stir a few moments longer. Allow to cool. When cool, pour the white roux into the soup base.
Stir to incorporate and prevent lumping. Allow to cook until the flour cooks out and the soup base thickens.
When the soup base has thickened, add the grated cheese.
Stir to incorporate and melt the cheese. It is important to thicken the soup base before adding the cheese. If you add the cheese before thickening the soup base you will wind up with a gloppy, goopey mess that, when it finally melts and incorporates, will be grainy as opposed to smooth and luxurious in your mouth.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the cream and whisk to incorporate.
Now add the broccoli florets.
Adding the florets at the end keeps them from becoming mushy and overcooked. Allow the soup to cook over medium heat, gently stirring occasionally, for 12 – 15 minutes to cook the florets.
Serve & enjoy!