Autumn has brought with it a chill in the air at night in some parts of the world, particularly here in Ireland. I like to balance out the chilly outdoors with extra warmth inside my belly and make my Creamy Cheddar & Broccoli Soup.
This recipe came about two winters ago and has been a favorite ever since. It is a great chance to learn how to make a roux if you haven’t already.
Creamy Cheddar & Broccoli Soup
3 to 3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons sliced shallots or scallions (spring onions)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
3 1/2 cups milk (use whole for the full effect, use skimmed if you’ve making sandwiches too or you’ll be over-filled)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 3/4 to 2 1/2 cups steamed broccoli florets
1 3/4 to 2 1/2 cups shredded or crumbled cheese (I use some plain cheddar, some sharp cheddar, and a touch of blue cheese)
Cream, as needed
1. Warm the chicken or vegetable stock/broth to room temperature or slightly warmer then stir in the shallots or scallions. Set aside.
2. Over low heat, melt butter in a somewhat deep saucepan. Once it has melted completely, stir in the flour little-by-little to create the roux base. Stir constantly with a fork or whisk. Then pour in the broth little-by-little, stirring constantly to blend thoroughly. Follow that with pouring in the milk while stirring to integrate it evenly. Finally, stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to low and let simmer for ten minutes.
3. While the mixture is being heated to a boil then simmering, steam the broccoli (three medium heads without the stems) then drain off excess water. Set aside in colander atop a bowl (to drain excess water) until step 5.
4. After the 10 minutes is up, stir in the cheeses gradually and stir as they melt. Keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Once the cheese has melted, taste the soup with a fresh spoon. Add more salt, pepper, nutmeg or cheese if necessary to suit your desired flavor. If it is as you wish it to be, stir in the steamed broccoli florets. Cook for 5 more minutes.
5. Thin with cream and serve with thick bread or sandwiches. Garnish with freshly shredded cheese, a dash of pepper or nutmeg or small bits of steamed broccoli.