As a funny friend captioned on social media yesterday, “Texas went all Narnia,” & the harsh unfamiliar chill has been attributing to my soup obsession the past few days. In the spirit of using things up & making them do, I decided to make some broccoli cheese soup, for the first time I might add, so please be kind to my newborn recipe. Yes, this time I copied it down. : )
Many of the best things in life begin with onions & garlic sauteed in butter, & all other dishes include these & cheese. Following those guidelines, this easy dish does not disappoint.
One thing I love to do is recreate drive-thru or chain restaurant dishes at home. Dinner inspiration tonight was a broccoli cheese soup inspired by the one I love from the restaurant that serves it in a bread bowl & has the BEST teas.
With half a bag of frozen broccoli florets lingering in the top drawer of my freezer, staring me down at each dive into the depths for chicken nuggets or ice cubes, I finally reached for the mini trees I avoided like the plague as a child. Tastes change & thankfully mine did, as well as my aversion to Target. But that’s an entirely different story.
After allowing the onions & garlic to brown away for a few minutes, I dropped the heat down & added a few pats of butter to the pan & scraped up any bits seared down to the surface with the melting butter. Next, I added the frozen broccoli florets and brought the veggies to a simmer with chicken stock & milk, & seasoned with salt, fresh cracked pepper, & cayenne pepper (we like things with a spicy kick), as well as some shredded cheddar cheese.
Since I wanted the soup to be a little creamier than the take out kind, I added a few dollops of cream cheese, though all I had was whipped cream cheese, which is why it looks like I threw golf balls into the mix.
The time had come to use one of my favorite kitchen tools since college – the immersion blender. During college I worked at a drive-thru daiquiri store & I blended a blinding amount of alcoholic beverages in an instant with the immersion blenders, & I have loved the tool ever since. (But I won’t mention I didn’t own one for the first 8 years of married life; space was tight & a big ole honkin’ blender had to serve many functions.)
Back to the broccoli cheese soup: I didn’t want to pulverize all the broccoli, so I worked the immersion blender down into the soup, weaving my way around a few florets & blending the sauteed onions & garlic in with the smaller tree tops & the whipped cream cheese & cheddar. Not long after, the soup was ready to get in my belly!
After filling our bowls & chowing down, I still had enough for leftovers. We have a small family of three with two finicky eaters (yes, I’m one), so this probably wouldn’t allow leftovers for a family of four or more. Of course I was too lazy to fashion bread bowls, but french bread from the grocery store pairs very well with this simple cheesy soup.
1/2 small to medium onion
3 small to medium cloves garlic
2 tablespoons butter (unsalted)
1/2 bag frozen broccoli florets
2 cups chicken stock (or any other kind of stock)
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1/2-1 cup cheddar cheese (or more, depending on how cheesy you like it!)
Heat your pot or dutch oven to medium-high heat (I have an old electric range, so temperatures will probably vary. You know your cook top, so adjust accordingly.)
Measure out the liquids, butter, & cream cheese so they can come up to room temperature while you prep your onions and garlic.
Thinly slice your onion & garlic cloves. (Although they’ll end up being pureed at the end, I love the flavor the caramelized onions have in the soup, & its harder to do that with larger chunks.)
Place your onions in the pot & let them start to sear; don’t move them right away! Give them a few minutes to rest between each stir to make sure they get nice & golden brown all over. When they become translucent, go ahead & add the garlic. (You don’t want to add the garlic too early or it will take on a bitter taste.)
After a few more minutes of resting & stirring, add the butter. When the butter starts to melt, use it & your utensil to scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot or dutch oven. You can add the (chicken) stock to help with this process. Add the frozen broccoli florets.
Let the stock & veggies come to a simmer for about 10 minutes, & then add the milk, stirring as you go. Next, stir in the salt, pepper, & cayenne pepper. Let it simmer for about 10 more minutes on low heat.
Once the soup has simmered away for a bit, take a look & decide if you want it to be thicker. I added cream cheese because I love it in (almost) everything, but if you feel like the soup is thick enough, you can skip this. I just love the extra creaminess it adds!
Take the immersion blender & start pureeing the soup to whatever texture you like. If you like your soup smoother, blend longer. If you like more texture to your soup, mix in small spurts until you see that it’s to your liking.
When the soup’s texture is to your liking, add the cheddar cheese & stir it in until it incorporates.
Serve & enjoy!