Roasted Broccoli & Irish Cheddar Soup

A thick, rich and comforting bowl. Like a velour track suit for your tongue.

Broccoli and cheese soup is a pretty solid standby in our humble opinion but (to borrow from Swingers) it’s the PG-13 guy of the soup world; you’re really hoping it does the trick but if you want something exciting you want the rated R guy. Not sure if roasting the vegetables will make a difference? Poppycock. Apprehensive about the strength of the Irish cheddar’s brogue? Balderdash. Pumpernickel croutons? Nerts to you. Work with us here, people; you know the drill by now.

Equipment Needed: 2  Baking Sheets, 5 QT Pot, Immersion Blender or Food Processor, Wooden Spoon, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 8

Suggested Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc

Suggested Beer Pairing: Dunkelwiess, Lager, Medium-bodied Ales

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs broccoli ($2.99/lb)
  • 1 QT chicken stock ($3.29/32 oz)
  • 1 PT heavy cream ($2.99/PT)
  • 2 medium onions ($0.99/lb)
  • 6 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 1/3 C flour ($1.89/2 lbs)
  • 3 TBSP unsalted butter ($4.99/lb)
  • 4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/32 oz)
  • 1 lb Irish cheddar cheese ($11.99/lb)
  • 1 loaf fresh pumpernickel bread (about $3/loaf)
  • 1 TBSP garlic powder ($2/2.5 oz jar)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Crouton Preparation:

You can do this before, during or after you make your soup. It takes about 10 minutes so do whatever works best for you.

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  • Take your loaf of pumpernickel and cut it into 1 inch cubes. Throw them in a mixing bowl and toss them with a solid drizzle of olive oil, garlic powder and salt.

Be careful not to over-oil the bread or it won't crisp up nicely.

  • Spread the croutons out evenly on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven for about 5 minutes, then check to see if they’re crunchy. If not, five them another few minutes but be careful not to leave them in too long. Burnt croutons don’t party well with soup.

Soup Preparation:

  • Preheat your oven to 425°F.
  • Wash the broccoli and remove the majority of the stems. Cut them into medium-sized florets and put them on your baking sheets.

Keep the broccoli in decent sized pieces, smaller chunks tend to burn when you roast them.

  • Peel and quarter your onions and place them on the backing sheets along with your broccoli. Mince your garlic cloves and spread evenly over the veggies on both sheets. Drizzle a healthy dose of olive oil over the whole lot, sprinkle with salt and pepper and throw them in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the veggies are nicely roasted.
  • While your broccoli is doing its thing, shred the cheese and set it aside for later.

If you can't find Irish cheddar, a nice English, Australian or just plain aged cheddar will do just fine.

  • Next it’s time to get started on your roux. Put the pot over low heat and add in the butter. Once it’s melted slowly stir in the flour a little at a time so it makes a paste then cook this until it’s a rich bronze color.  Pour in the cream and stir everything together. Bring the burner up to medium heat and stir relatively constantly if your veggies haven’t finished. You don’t want the cream to scald.

Use low heat and be patient with the roux; burnt flour doesn't help anything.

  • Once the veggies are done, throw them in the pot and add the chicken stock. Let everyone get friendly until the mixture comes to a boil. Once this happens remove it from the heat and get to work with your immersion blender (or food processor). You want to grind everything down to a consistent puree so don’t rush through this part.

Blend thoroughly. No one likes surprise chunks of stuff in an otherwise creamy soup.

  • Once you’ve got it to the consistency you want, put it back on the stove over low heat. Stir in the cheddar a small handful at a time until you’ve gotten through it all. Once the cheese has completely melted in dish it up and go to town. For bonus points drizzle a little walnut or truffle oil on top of each bowl.

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