Sometimes I know a couple of weeks ahead what’s coming up on the blog. Occasionally I even cook, write a recipe, take photos, and keep a post for the next season. For the last year, however, I have mostly begun working on the next week’s food within a day or two of the last post, photographing, writing, editing, and rewriting right up until my usual, but occasionally fluctuating deadline. In this case, the “Frozen Bailey’s Mochaccino” (Did you make it?!) wasn’t dry on the page before I was making this soup. I was interested in and then thoroughly inspired by a post of Nigella Lawson’s, “Broccoli and Stilton Soup” on twitter. (I’ve just looked back at it and see she’s even encouraged readers to use whatever cheeses they have on hand — just as I do here! Great minds think alike 😉 ) There was literally and figuratively a bunch of broccoli in the fridge and broccoli cheese soup of some sort, if not totally blue-cheesy, was sounding good for Meatless Monday. Well, the soup was grand if I do say so myself. I even had the recipe written and some decent photos in the can. I did, however, forget to note a couple of key elements like the weight of the broccoli, for instance. Hello, honey!! No choice: I re-ordered the ingredients, made the soup a second time (now as a first course before mushroom pork chops on date night), followed my own recipe weighing everything, and got it all straight for you.
In the meantime, however, January 6 had happened and I — like most of us in the U.S. and elsewhere, too — don’t understand how our world got to this place. How we didn’t more clearly see it coming given several years’ worth of increasingly hateful rhetoric, political polarization, and talk about impending civil war during a pandemic, is more than I can figure. I can only pray for indictment, trial, and speedy punishment of all those responsible for the encouragement, planning, riot, and violent storming of the Capitol. If a foreign power had been behind that riot, I’m guessing we’d be at war. Coming back to the blog today on a snowy Saturday afternoon, it all seems somewhat surreal, though I know we may anticipate even more violence. I’ve no idea where I was going with Two-Cheese Broccoli Soup except that my husband Dave was crazy for it (he never met a piece of blue cheese he didn’t like) and, well, it was what was happening on the following Monday on More Time at the Table.
… there’s still soup to cook, stomachs to fill, people to love, kids to raise, and tables to share. Grace to be said with huge prayers for peace in our land. This dinner — for it’s a filling dish despite being soup — is not only easy and inexpensive to make with few ingredients and no meat at all, it’s quick. You sauté onions, add broccoli and broth, let that cook, and then later stir in milk, cream, and cheese. A little bread on the side et voila, it’s a meal. If there are only two of you, gently warmed smaller servings are lovely for lunch the next day, especially if it’s cold outside:
Even if you’ve never before made broccoli cheese soup, you’ll have no problem with this recipe, though you might wish you’d made more. Don’t miss the introduction at the top and the tips below the recipe to make sure you cook it exactly to your own tastes when you try this:
Two Cheese-Broccoli Soup
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- Crushed red pepper
- 3 heads of broccoli-trimmed of the tough stems and cut or broken into flowerets (2 pounds before trimming/about 8 cups florets)
- 1 large potato, peeled and diced
- 1 quart low-sodium chicken stock
- ¾ cup milk
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 2 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese – grated (approx. ½ cup packed) – plus extra for garnish
- 2 ounces blue cheese – crumbled (approx. 1/3 cup) – plus extra for garnish
- Add butter to a 6-quart soup pot and heat over medium flame until melted. Add both onions and season with ½ teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper along with a pinch of crushed red pepper. Stir and cook for 5 minutes or so or until onions are softening.
- Add the broccoli, potato, and chicken stock. Cover, raise heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered until all vegetables are very tender – about 20 minutes.
- Purée with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender (hold top down with towel for safety) or food processor. Return soup to pot if needed and stir in the milk and cream. Warm well –don’t boil — over low heat. Remove from burner and stir or whisk in cheese until melted. Taste and adjust seasoning. See “Tips” on blog for thickening or thinning soup. Serve hot garnished with a little of both cheeses.Reheat leftovers gently and slowly over low flame.STORAGE: 3 days in the fridge. Not good for freezing.
Copyright Alyce Morgan, 2020. All rights reserve
TIPS: BUYING CHEESE: Use the best quality block cheeses you can afford. Many pre-shredded or crumbled cheeses often contain ingredients other than cheese and can be dry or even old. CHOPPING: Sometimes the size you chop ingredients is a critical element; it’s not here. The smaller you chop the vegetables, the more quickly the soup will cook and the easier it will purée. COOKING cheese soups: No boiling allowed when adding milk, cream, or cheese or you run the risk of the soup curdling. SOUP IS TOO THICK: Add more broth or milk. SOUP IS TOO THIN: Whisk a couple of tablespoons of flour into a 1/4 cup broth, whisk it into the soup, and cook over low heat, stirring for a few minutes until thickened. You can also make a Beurre Manié (equal amounts of flour and butter mashed together with fingers or a fork–say a tablespoon or two for this soup) and stir it in, letting the soup cook only briefly for this method. SERVE IT COLD? Come summer, a cold soup is a welcome soup. This one is just as good cold as hot, so make it in the morning, then cool and chill for dinner or picnics.
CHANGE IT UP: Sub Brussels sprouts or asparagus for the broccoli. Use Swiss Cheese in place of the Cheddar and blue cheese. Sub leeks for one of the onions.
If you liked this, you might also like my …
MORE INFO THAN YOU WANTED:
Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup/BON APPÉTIT (Luscious!)
note about the photo below: the “flying saucers” in the sky are actually a reflection of the ceiling lights in my living room—maybe
LIFE GOES ON:
I feel like one big toothache after this last week. As a lifelong democrat and progressive Christian, as well as the wife of a retired AF officer, the division, violence, hate, and pain in our country during the last 12 years has felt insurmountable. There’s no way to blame any one person or party for the divide itself (though some would definitely blame republicans and others would for sure call out the democrats), but I have long looked at media, particularly cable news, and social media — left and right wing alike — as partial causes here. Instead of reading and listening to bonafide journalists who present both sides and enable us to make our own decisions and form our own opinions, we’ve let them use their platforms to instead give us their opinions disguised as facts and that has solidified and enlarged the divide. Perhaps even 20 years ago, we mostly shook our collective heads at political differences. Things have changed and the polarization we have now has given way to violence, brutality, and murder of our own citizens.
As one friend texted me, “We’re now officially a banana republic.” I’m not without hope, but I’m struggling mightily. How have you been dealing with all of this? Take good care of yourself.
I’m grateful for your presence in my kitchen where I’m currently breathing, waving the peace sign, and singing old Beatles’ songs,