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 with Croutons
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
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.
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.
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
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.)