As the cool weather settles in, and we acclimate to brisk mornings and chilly evenings, our thoughts turn to warm, comforting and nutritious foods. This is the time of year when it is supremely restorative to come home to a bowl of steaming, hearty soup. Broccoli cheddar soup is a vegetarian soup with a flavorful blend of cheddar cheese and tender broccoli florets. It has a rich, creamy, cheesy consistency that is so satisfying. For the ultimate in comfort food, ladle the soup into hollowed out crusty bread bowls.
A hot, wholesome soup in a crusty bread bowl is the perfect way to chase away any autumn chill and to nourish and comfort body and soul. Serving the soup in a bread bowl makes for such an aesthetic and creative presentation. You may want to use the bread bowl concept for other rich soups, or for appetizer spreads and dips, stews or chili. Enjoy!
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- ½ cup onion, chopped
- ½ cup scallions, chopped
- 2 to 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound broccoli florets (ok to use some of the stalk, just make sure to peel and slice before cooking)
- 3 to 4 cups vegetable stock (I use homemade, but store bought is ok)
- 2 ½ cups whole milk (ok to use reduced fat milk for a lighter soup)
- 1/3 cup flour
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated (ok to use reduced fat cheese)
- 4 to 6 round breads (approximately 5 to 6 inches in diameter)
Heat the oil in a 3-quart non-stick saucepan. Add onion, scallions and garlic and cook over low heat until softened and translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add 3 cups vegetable stock and the broccoli. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the broccoli is soft, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Combine the milk and flour, and whisk together well. Add the milk/flour mixture to the broccoli and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Remove from the heat and add the cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Place the soup into a food processor and puree to desired consistency. Add some extra vegetable stock if the soup gets too thick.
Slice off the top ½ inch of the round breads. Scoop out the centers, making sure to leave at least a ½ inch shell at the base and around the bread.
Ladle the hot soup into the bread bowls. Garnish with grated cheese and broccoli florets.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
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