Well, the garden is done and everything has been canned, preserved, frozen, or eaten. Fortunately, broccoli is still in season somewhere, so it’s an inexpensive item in the supermarket. So, the soup this week is broccoli cheese. Now, I usually avoid broccoli cheese soup because it always looks like a few chunks of limp broccoli floating in a sea of mystery cheese. Just too much carb and dairy and too little lovely green stuff. Until now. Recently, I discovered a recipe, thanks to the Test Kitchen, that does broccoli cheese soup with emphasis on the broccoli and it’s rich as butter without all the fat.
Broccoli Cheese Soup
• 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable broth
• 2 heads (pounds) broccoli, peel and trim the stems and cut in cubes, roughly chop the florets into 1-inch pieces
• 1 medium onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
• 2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
• 1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard powder
• Pinch cayenne pepper
• salt to taste
• 3–4 cups water
• ¼ teaspoon baking soda (helps get rid of those sulphur containing compounds and brings out the taste of the broccoli)
• 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth (or chicken)
• 2 cups baby spinach (if using frozen, thaw and squeeze the water out)
• 3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (3/4 cup)
• 1 ½ ounces Parmesan cheese, grated fine (about 3/4 cup), plus extra for serving
• Ground black pepper
1. Heat oil or broth in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add broccoli, onion, garlic, dry mustard, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 6 minutes until fragrant. Add 1 cup water and the baking soda. Bring to simmer, cover, and cook until broccoli is very soft, about 20 minutes, stirring once during cooking.
2. Add broth and 2 cups water and increase heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture back to a simmer, stir in spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. You can transfer half of soup to blender, add cheddar and Parmesan, and process until smooth or leave the soup in the pot and use that immersion blender you got for Christmas. Over medium heat, bring to simmer. If the soup seems too thick, adjust consistency by adding up to a cup of water or broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.