Friday, April 7, 2017

Broccoli Cheese Soup With Toasted Almond Gremolata

I could eat soup every day. I crave it. There are so many different varieties that I will never be bored eating it. I use a few different "go to"'s that satisfy a place in me that demands to be fulfilled every now and then; french onion (only from a certain local bistro), butternut squash, cauliflower cheese, and broccoli cheddar. Today, it's broccoli cheddar with Toasted Almond Gremolata.
I use loose guidelines when making soup. Four carrots can range anywhere from 2-4 cups, depending on the size. I'm not going to worry about exact measurements. Soup is forgiving. It never tastes exactly the same way twice. I also try to use what I have on hand.

Today I have some good vegetables and a few herbs on hand. This is going to be good.

Leftover bacon. There is rarley such a thing in my home. I mean it's bacon, enticing us to eat every last piece. Place it in a cold oven, set it to 400 degrees, and cook for 25 minutes. I usually cook a full pan for 30 minutes, but I only have 3 leftover pieces so it will take less time. 

I'm using my pressure cooker as a soup pot again. I am lazy today, and it cooks my soup and then keeps it warm. I'm not actually using the pressure cooker option, just the brown and warm cycles. 

Warm butter in the bottom. Chop an onion, and add it to the butter. Cook on medium heat.

I am using a french fry cutter I bought some time ago and rarely used. It's part of that laziness I have going on. It works great.

Just run the onion through. It doesn't need any further chopping.

Smash, peel, and chop garlic.

Add it to the onion. 


Peel a potato. I ran it through the french fry cutter and then ran a knife through it to make a dice. 

Slice carrots. Add both the potatoes and carrots into the pot.

Slice and chop bell pepper. This is a 3-lobed pepper. Although, it can't be classified as either female or male (bell peppers are hermaphroditic), it is better for cooking. Four-lobed bells are sweeter and therefore better eaten raw. Add it to the pot.

Remove the broccoli florets from the stems. Slice and chop the stems too. They're delicious. Toss it all in.

Grind rosemary and thyme. Sprinkle half over the vegetables. By now, the onion should be cooked and starting to brown. After stirring in the herbs, cook a minute more.

Add half of the vegetables into a blender. 

Along with a 32 oz. box of chicken broth. Blend 2-3 minutes.

Return to the pot.

Add parsley. Simmer. Prepare the cheese sauce.

Melt butter in a small pot.

Add flour and stir to combine. Cook 5 minutes on low. Cook 2-3 more minutes.

Once you have a nice thick sauce, transfer to the blender. I didn't clean my blender after I used it for the vegetables. There's no need to clean it now. It's the same soup. Add the other half of the herbs and milk. Blend a minute or two, until smooth.

Add half to the soup pot, keeping half inside blender.

Cube cheese. 

Add to the blender and blend a minute or two. It doesn't need to be completely smooth as the cheese will melt in the soup.

Add to the soup pot. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook 20 minutes. If you decide that the soup is too thick for your liking, add more chicken broth. Extra chicken broth also comes in handy when you heat up leftovers. Leftovers always seem to thicken in the refrigerator. The restaurant that figures this one out and provides extra sauce with their doggie bags will be a genius.

Chop bacon.

Top the soup with bacon and parsley. For a real treat, top with Toasted Almond Gremolata, too. It's worth it.

  • 3-5 strips thick sliced bacon, optional
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 potato
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 bunch broccoli
  • 3 T rosemary
  • 2 T thyme
  • 1 32 oz. box chicken broth, more or less won't matter. I know some people used cans and the measurement won't be the same. It's ok. Just get close.
  • 1/4 C parsley

  • 1/4 C butter
  • 1/4 C flour
  • 4 C milk
  • 16 oz. cheese, I started with Dubliner, then realized I had sharp cheddar open, so I used the sharp cheddar this time. Either way, it's yummy.
  • salt and pepper

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