Broccoli Cheese Soup

Since that Artisan Bread makes the CUTEST bread bowl for soup, I thought I’d include a really really good soup recipe.

Broccoli Cheese Soup sounds simple enough, but its really not.  It can easily come out as a glop of cheese swimming in a sea of curdled milk.  Oh yes, it happened.  Not this time– this time was much better!

It all began with my Bountiful Basket.  Don’t know what a Bountiful Basket is?  Go here: http://www.bountifulbaskets.org/ and check it out.  The week before last, we got a ton of Broccoli.  A TON!!  six small heads of the stuff.  Broccoli is great, but you can have it steamed only so many days in a row.  Then you start crinkling your nose and uttering things like ‘Broccoli AGAIN?!’.  Until you make this soup.  Then you’ll be hoarding it away in little plastic containers in your fridge– with labels for each day of the week.  Yes, that happened too!  But don’t worry.  I shared with the people at work!

Here is my lovely recipe for Broccoli Cheese Soup (adapted from http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Excellent-Broccoli-Cheese-Soup/Detail.aspx).

Broccoli Cheese Soup
1/2 medium onion, chopped fine
3/4 cup butter (the REAL stuff)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 quarts chicken stock
1/2 gallon 2% milk
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp white pepper
6 cups chopped broccoli*
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1-1/2 lbs Velveeta, cut into little cubes
3 cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

1.  Melt butter in the bottom of a very large pot.  Add onion.  Saute until onion is soft and translucent, but not browned (about 5 minutes).

2.  Sprinkle in the flour and whisk.  Cook about 2 minutes to get the raw flour taste out.  Keep it moving so it doesn’t burn. 

3.  While constantly stirring, slowly add in the chicken stock.  Keep it moving and add it slow– this will prevent any lumps from forming.  Once the chicken stock is in, stir in the milk, salt and pepper.  Bring this mixture barely to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Be sure to stir every few minutes to prevent the milk from burning on the bottom.

4.  Meanwhile, place the broccoli and shredded carrot in a large pot with a few inches of water.  Cook until crisp-tender, 5 to 7 minutes.  Drain well and set aside.

5.  Gradually add the Velveeta chunks, a few at a time with stirring, to the milk mixture.  Once all the Velveeta is mixed in, slowly sprinkle in the Sharp Cheddar cheese, stirring constantly.  Stir in the Worcestershire sauce.  Add the drained vegetables to the pot and stir well.  Cook another 5-10 minutes, or until vegetables are warmed through and the soup is hot!

To serve in a bread bowl:
Trim off the top 1/3 of the Artisan Bread Loaf.  Carefully hollow out the bottom of the loaf using a spoon– be sure to leave at least an inch or so of bread all around.  Ladle in the soup and enjoy!

*I used fresh broccoli here.  I trimmed off the florets, then peeled and chopped the stalk.  You could also use a big bag of frozen chopped broccoli.

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