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Light Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Chive-Cayenne Oil

December 3, 2007

Bowl of Broccoli Soup

When people think of broccoli soup, the ubiquitous casserole-glue cream of broccoli usually comes to mind. I don’t know many people who consider broccoli soup high up on the list of adored foodstuffs. But you see, my love of broccoli knows no bounds. I mean, I even love the stuff on pizza. And while I do have a bit of a weakness for a heavy, creamy bowl of canned badness, I’ve never tried my hand at making my own. Of course, now that I have an immersion blender, broccoli soup had to be one of the first things I introduced it to. (Are you guys sick of hearing about the immersion blender yet? I hope not–I suspect it’s going to be a soupy winter.)

When I started looking for a recipe, though, I found myself shying away from those full of heavy cream and flour and cups upon cups of cheese. I’ve been feeling lackluster from the lack of vitamins in my diet, and my inability to get to the gym on a regular basis probably means that I should limit my intake of heavy creamy dairy just a titch. I wanted to find a recipe that really let the broccoli dominate, but I was worried about producing boring soup. This was such a conundrum, people!

I finally decided on a recipe from the trusty standby epicurious.com: Broccoli Soup with Chive-Cayenne Oil. This one had actually been lurking in my saved recipe folder for awhile, forgotten, just waiting for the day when I was ready to let broccoli soup grace my kitchen. I’ll be honest, though: I wasn’t entirely sure about this one. I worried it would be too thin, too boring, saved only the addition of fancy flavored oil. I had to add just a little bit of dairy.

Cheese

As it turns out, I think I should have added a little more. Even though I wanted something light, I would have appreciated just a little more body and heft to this soup. Of course, Amelia Bedelia declared it perfect, and said she especially liked that it was light and tasted so exactly like fresh broccoli. What do I know?

I felt also fancy, too, with my fancy lady Chive-Cayenne Oil, even if it did look a bit odd and blobby once it was added to the soup.

Oil blobs

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Chive-Cayenne Oil

  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 chopped chives
  • a pinch (or two) of cayenne
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 pound of broccoli, stems separated from crowns and all cut into about 1-inch pieces
  • 4 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 1/2 c. milk (I used low fat, but I suspect whole, or even, ahem, cream would have been better)
  • 3/4 c. grated cheddar cheese

Make the fancy pants oil first: Puree the quarter cup of olive oil, the chives, and the cayenne together in a food processor or blender, season it with a bit of salt, and set it aside.

Green oil

Heat a bit more olive oil in a large soup pot (anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon should be fine). Add the chopped shallot and stir so it’s all coated in oil, then let it sit to cook for a bit. Add the bay leaf and the broccoli stems, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the stems start to turn bright green and just barely soften. That will probably take about three or four minutes over medium heat. Just stir every now and then so the shallots don’t burn.

Then add the broccoli crowns and the chicken stock. Bring the stock to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover the pot. Let the broccoli cook up for about six minutes, or until the stems and the crowns are tender and cooked through. Remove the bay leaf, and add the milk or cream. Let the soup cool for a little while.

Once it’s stopped steaming so copiously, puree the soup, either in batches in a blender or with a nifty, shiny, handy dandy new immersion blender (ha!). Watch out for broccoli chicken splatters, and maybe put on an apron first. Realize that you should really figure out how to use the nifty new immersion blender properly so you stop splattering soup all over your kitchen and yourself.

Once the soup is pureed to your liking (I left a few small broccoli chunks here and there), bring the soup back to a slow boil. Use a whisk to slowly stir in the cheese, adding it in small handfuls at a time and whisking continuously so it melts evenly and doesn’t rubberize on you. Add a bit more salt and pepper, if you feel like it, and you are good to go.

PS–Notice how miraculously not orange those pictures are? Turns out all I had to do was take the hideous 1970s style yellow and orange light fixture down from the ceiling and leave the bulbs bare. I’m sure sunlight would be better, but it’s December. I take what I can get.

Coming up soon: a guest blogger! Yes, my housemate Christa, who is an excellent cook, made a dinner that made me so happy I begged her to write about it: Turkey Chili Rice. Yay, Christa!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Mom permalink
    December 5, 2007 12:37 am

    Sounds yummy! I haven’t had broccoli soup in a long time. I’m looking forward to you doing some cooking while you’re home.

  2. crystalbrooke permalink
    December 5, 2007 11:34 am

    I guess if last year was the winter of a million casseroles, this one is the winter of a million immersion blender soups, eh? I miss you!!!

  3. Gramma Jeri permalink
    December 5, 2007 5:17 pm

    Hi Laura, A quick note; haven’t tried the soup as yet but we do like soup,in fact I made turkey noodle today…mmmmmgood. very cold today..soup is on the menu…so glad you injoy your new kitchen applicance. Love ya….Gramma

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