You know what would be really cool? If the weather would finally get warm, and stay that way. Cause winter has definitely milked it for all it can this year. I don't think the East Coast has caught a break since Sandy.
Last Friday, we got about 6 more inches of snow here in Jersey, but it melted pretty quickly over the weekend so it wasn't that bad. I'm hoping that's the last we'll see of it though. Spring is only a few days away so we'll see if it brings some warmer weather along with it.
But before we officially say goodbye to winter, let's talk about one very special comfort food that I enjoyed during this chilly season: broccoli cheddar soup.
Let me just start off by saying this is not a soup for the faint of heart. It is thick, creamy, cheesy, and incredibly rich. Certainly not for the calorie counters.
But for those who want to indulge and those who love to indulge, this is the soup to get the job done.
Similar to the baked chimichangas I posted a few days ago, I had never tried this soup before; not until two weeks ago when I noticed an abundance of cheddar cheese in my fridge that was going to go to waste if I didn't take some action. Since then, I've made this soup twice. And I now understand why it's so popular at the ever so famous Panera Bread.
There's just something so comforting and warm and magical about a rich, velvety broccoli cheddar soup, especially this one. I've read that this recipe tastes very similar to the one at Panera Bread, but since I've never had theirs before, I'll let you all be the judge.
Put on your stretchy pants and dig in!
Broccoli Cheddar SoupYield: 4 servings
Ingredients:6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups evaporated milk (or half-and-half)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper
4 cups broccoli florets
1 large carrot, diced
8 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese
Directions:In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the onion and cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Then add the flour and whisk continuously for 3-4 minutes, until it becomes golden in color. Gradually whisk in evaporated milk until smooth and well-blended. Add chicken broth, bay leaves, and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
Add broccoli florets and carrot to the soup, and continue simmering until both are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and discard bay leaves. Puree soup with an immersion blender, or with a traditional blender in batches. (You can also leave the soup as is, or just puree some of it, leaving some chunks of broccoli. It's all up to your preference.)
Return saucepan to medium low heat and gradually add cheese, whisking constantly after each addition to melt and incorporate. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventures