Friday, January 4, 2013

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I'm not sure what it is but cold weather and frost on the ground makes me crave comfort food.  Food that warms you up inside and makes you feel all cozy.  The weather we've had lately has definitely been comfort food weather.  That weather where you want to put on your pj's, cuddle up on the couch, cover up, eat a big bowl of soup and watch t.v.  You know what I'm talking about!  There's nothing better, right?
When I think of comfort food I think of mom's home cooking, chicken and dumplings, and soups, just to name a few things.  To me, this broccoli cheese soup definitely falls into the category of comfort food.  Cheesy, creamy goodness with pieces of broccoli in every bite.  Yum. 
I love this recipe for so many reasons.  It's simple, quick to put together, hearty and satisfying.  It's great for a cozy, weekend meal but quick enough to assemble for a weeknight meal, as well.  The best part, though-it's a one pot meal!  Saute the onions and garlic, add the liquids, seasonings and veggies and simmer.  Add the cheese and serve.  We enjoyed this with a few, thick slices of buttery, toasted bread but it would also be delicious in a bread bowl! 

Broccoli Cheese Soup
Ingredients:

1 Medium onion, diced
1 Clove garlic, minced
4 Heads broccoli, cut into florets
1/2 Cup (1 stick) butter
4 Cups whole milk
2 Cups half and half
1/3 Cup flour
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch red pepper flakes
Fresh ground black pepper
Salt
1 1/2 Cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese, plus more for serving
1 3/4 Cups shredded cheddar, plus more for serving
Chicken broth, if needed

Directions:

Place a large stock pot, or Dutch oven, over medium heat and add butter.  Once the butter has melted add the onions and saute for 3-4 minutes, until translucent.  Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds, until fragrant.  While stirring continuously, add the flour until combined.  Continuing to stir, slowly add the milk and half and half until combined.  Add the broccoli, nutmeg, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Reduce heat to low.  Cover the mixture and allow to simmer 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Once the broccoli is tender add the cheese and stir until melted.  Taste the soup, adjust seasonings if needed.* 

Ladel into bowls, top with more cheese and serve.

*If soup is too thick add chicken broth or milk, to achieve the desired consistency.

Recipe source: barely adapted from The Pioneer Woman    

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