One great thing about this is that it came together fast; a perfect fall weeknight meal when some salad and crusty bread is thrown into the mix. As is typical with me these days, I didn't have everything I needed to make the recipe as written. Specifically, I didn't have enough chicken broth. I boozed it up, and used dry white wine (probably about 1/4c) and water to make the full 2 cups. I think it really contributed to the flavor, but wasn't overwhelming--I could definitely taste the wine in the soup and it was lovely.
I like that the broccoli is added in chunks instead of pureed; I think it makes for a much more attractive and appetizing, not to mention easier, soup. I wish, however, that I'd had the foresight to chop the broccoli down even smaller to make it more manageable to eat.
Now, for my deception. Using an immersion blender was imperative here. I discovered some chunks of sweet potato hadn't been cut all the way down, and made sure they didn't make it into his bowl. The color of the soup is just like any restaurant Broccoli-cheddar soup I've ever had. There also seems to be no sweet potato flavor. In other words, he didn't even notice that there was something unusual in the soup. He did comment, however, that while it is good, it just doesn't meet his expectations of a delicious restaurant style broccoli cheddar soup.
I don't know about all that, but I found it to be a delicious, hearty soup that was easy to prepare and got some additional veggie goodness in our bellies. The boys both ate it, although they particularly enjoyed the bread we served with it. As far as I can tell, it's gluten free and fairly healthful.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup Food Network Magazine October 2011
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups chopped broccoli florets
- 1/3 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 1/3 cups)
- Croutons, for topping (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, half-and-half, both potatoes, bay leaf, 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put the broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl; add 3 tablespoons water and season with salt. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes; drain.
When the potatoes are tender, remove the bay leaf from the soup and transfer the soup to a blender. Puree until smooth, leaving the filler cap slightly open to let steam escape (or puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender). Return the soup to the pot and thin with water, if necessary. Return to a simmer over medium-low heat; stir in the broccoli and season with salt and pepper.
Add the cheese and stir until melted. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with croutons, if desired.