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Fresh Broccoli and Cheese Soup with Croutons

Broccoli and Cheese soup

Written by contributor Marieke Beeler of M for Mommy.

This Broccoli and Cheese Soup with Croutons is absolutely divine. I have to admit: I am not a soup person. My husband is. That’s where we differ. As a soup person he confirms that this is, indeed, a delicious soup. As a non-soup person, I confirm: this Broccoli and Cheese soup with Croutons is a hit. The original recipe called for frozen broccoli. I prefer fresh. I had fresh. I made it fresh. It was a keeper.

Look at that!  “Fresh over frozen,” I say.

Broccoli and Cheese soup

Broccoli and Cheese Soup with Croutons

Ingredients
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus 2 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sliced leeks (white parts only, well rinsed)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
Pinch nutmeg
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken stock, or low-sodium chicken broth
12-16 oz. fresh broccoli, washed
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cups shredded medium Cheddar, plus a good handful if needed
Croutons, for garnish, recipe follows.


Directions:
In a medium pot, melt the 3 tablespoons butter of medium-high heat.  Add the celery, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and thyme and cook, stirring, until fragrant, for 20 seconds.  Add the flour and cook, stirring until the mixture is well blended and smells fragrant, 2 minutes.  Slowly add the chicken stock, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Add the broccoli and cook, stirring, until tender, for about 5-7 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and puree with a hand-held immersion blender.  (Alternatively, in batches, puree in a blender or food processor and return to the pot.)

Add the cream and bring to a bare simmer to heat through.  Add the 1 1/4 cup of cheese and cook over low heat, stirring, until melted.  Add up to a (good) handful of extra cheese, if desired.  (I desired it.)  Add the remaining 2 tablespoons cold butter, stirring to blend.

Remove from the heat and ladle the soup into bowls.  Sprinkle croutons over the top of the soup and serve immediately.

Broccoli and Cheese soup

Croutons

1 cup 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubed French bread
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. Creole seasoning, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the bread in a medium bowl and toss with oil and Creole Seasoning.  Spread evenly on a small baking sheet and bake, stirring twice, until golden brown on top, about 6 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving.

Yield: 1 cup

Creole Seasoning

2 1/2 tbsp. paprika
2 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup (yes, it’s more than you need, but it’s delicious and it will make you want to make croutons for every meal hereafter.  They’re great on a salad.  Trust me, I tried.)

 

Recipe originally from Emeril Lagasse, adapted by Marieke, aka HRH Mommy.

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