March 28, 2011

Broccoli Cheddar Soup - New Recipe #3

I had some broccoli left over after making a couple of Chicken Divan casseroles for the freezer and thought about how I could use it, rather than just the usual roasting/steaming for a side dish. I also realized I hadn't yet tried my new recipe for March. One plus one equals broccoli and cheddar soup, made the healthy way.

I love a good cream of broccoli soup. It's rich, tasty, and hearty. I don't love that the restaurant versions are laden with heavy cream, massive amounts of cheese and oodles of sodium. After a good Internet search I discovered this recipe on It had an overall good reader rating, so I gave it a go.

I started with this bunch of ingredients:

Missing from photo: dry mustard, black pepper and flour.
I gave the carrots, celery and onion a quick dice and tossed in the pot with some oil for a saute.

Followed shortly by diced potato and minced garlic (again, no judging on the lack of fresh garlic please ;) and another short saute.

Add in the flour, dry mustard, freshly ground black pepper and cayenne. Cook's note: I eventually added in more cayenne, as there just wasn't quite enough flavour for my tastes. I think next time I'd also add in some thyme.

After just a quick mix in of the spices, the broth goes in for a 10 minute simmer. If you were using broccoli stems, they'd go in now too. I had just the crowns, so they wait until the heartier veggies simmer and soften. Once they're in, it's another 10 minute simmer.

Note: I also doubled up on the amount of broccoli the recipe called for and very glad I did.
I'd even try a little more the next time around for more of that broccoli flavour.
After the simmer, I let the soup cool a little on the stove before using my immersion blender to puree. You don't have to wait, that is assuming you don't mind the possibility of being splattered with scalding soup. Just saying. Use the cooling time to clean up the dishes, grab a shower, snack on some grapes. I may or may not have done any or all of these things. I also apologize for neglecting to grab an action shot of the puree. You could also use your blender or food processor, or if you like it a little chunkier just give a good mash with the potato masher. It's cooking, not an exact science after all.

Once pureed or smashed to your liking, you stir in the reduced fat sour cream and cheese. The recipe called for light cheese, but I only had regular on hand so I went with it.

Once the sour cream and cheese melts in, serve it up with some crusty french bread and topped with a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkling of grated cheddar, or heck go with both if it floats your boat.

The verdict: It was really good. I would say it's not quite as rich-tasting as some restaurant versions I've had, which I chalk up to the reduced sodium content and absence of heavy cream. But at just over 200 calories and only 9 grams of fat (a little more with regular cheddar cheese of course) in a 1 cup serving, I think it will be have staying power on the Ryan menu.

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