Hi! Remember me? I used to cook things and write about them, but now I mostly sit on the couch recovering from various illnesses (sinusitis and bronchitis with a healthy dose of “stomach bug” thrown in, if you’re curious) and help make videos that attempt to capture the insanity (absurdity?) that is this world.
Until Sunday, I hadn’t cooked something at home in over a month. Until Sunday, I had subsisted for over a week on bone broth, diner mashed potatoes and a rice slurry that my sister made for me after taking pity on my poor sorry sick self. Until Sunday, I had forgotten how much fun it was to try something new in the kitchen, how relaxing it was to shut your mind off for a few minutes and just chop vegetables, how soothing it was to follow someone else’s lead for an hour and trust that everything would turn out okay.
Broccoli cheddar soup was exactly the comfort food I wanted, but the mere act of cooking was even more comforting — it felt familiar and simple and satisfying, a return to normalcy after two weeks of doctor’s offices and pharmacies and endless SVU marathons (not that I’m complaining on that front). I’m hoping that, now that I’m mostly recovered, I’ll be spending a lot more time in the kitchen this fall.
And about the soup: well, anything that features over a pound of broccoli and a half-pound of cheddar was bound to be delicious. This is cheesy, creamy comfort in a bowl, and features enough broccoli to feel somewhat virtuous — or at least not completely terrible. It’s the kind of meal I know I’ll want to eat (and make!) all winter long.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, chopped small
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup half-and-half (I made my own, using 1/2 cup whole milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream)
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 cups finely chopped broccoli florets and stems (a little over 1 pound of broccoli)
- 1 cup finely chopped carrots
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
- In a large heavy pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic, then cook until they've softened, 3-5 minutes.
- Stir in the flour and cook until golden (3-5 minutes), then gradually whisk in the half-and-half (or milk and cream) until the mixture is smooth.
- Add the broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered for 10 minutes, until the soup has thickened, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the chopped broccoli and carrots. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, 15-20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, and taste for seasonings (be careful with the salt, since the cheese will add some salt).
- Puree the soup to a slightly chunky texture using either a stick blender or a regular one*. Return the soup back to the stove, then whisk in the cheese until it's melted and the soup is creamy. Serve immediately.
- *If you're using a regular blender, be careful and please please use these tips. No one ever had any fun cleaning broccoli cheddar soup off their kitchen ceiling.