The holidays are in full swing. Soirees, holiday parties and family get-togethers have filled your days and nights for the past few weeks. Perhaps you even celebrated with us at The Chopping Block as we hosted hundreds of guests this month in our private events and cooking classes. With all this merry, who has time to cook, right? I know I have been struggling. I will have driven over 1,000 miles and merried my way across three states by the time this holiday season wraps up!
But now is exactly when I need to cook. A simple, homemade meal gives me a break from all the rich food and drink of the holiday season and can be ready at a moments notice. Nothing says easy, quick, hearty, healthy, and simple, better than soup.
So, I decided to come up with a very speedy, delicious soup that you can make using the ingredients I list here or anything else you have on hand. The beauty of this soup is that is uses many common household ingredients, with one secret ingredient to make it taste rich, creamy, and decadent without a lot (or any) heavy cream. And you can have it ready in 20 minutes!
Why broccoli cheese? Well, because I happened to have a bag of broccoli florets, some leftover cheddar, and half a red onion in the fridge. The rest I found in my pantry.
You could easily make this soup with cauliflower, potatoes or even green beans as the main veggie. So many options to try! It is also naturally gluten free and can be made vegan with a few substitutions. If you are interested in more vegan options, please come to our Vegan Voyage class. Or, if you are seeking to learn some more tricks to lighten up you everyday meals, please check out Fresh Start.
1 cup diced onion (I used red, because its what I had on hand. You could also use leeks.)
1 cup diced carrot
1 bag (12 oz) pre-cut broccoli florets, chopped into bite size pieces (of course, you can buy whole and cut)
1 32oz carton of low sodium chicken stock (or veggie stock if you prefer) = 4 cups.
1 15oz. can of cannellini bean, rinsed and drained (This is my secret ingredient. Beans can be used instead of cream/milk in almost any cream soup.)
¾-1 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Heavy cream: You can also use crème fraiche, but do not substitute sour cream or half-n-half. They will curdle as the soup boils. Of course, you can leave this out all together if you want the soup to be even lower in fat.
- Shredded Extra-Sharp Cheddar cheese, or any cheese of choice
Large Saucepan or small stock pot
Knife and cutting board
Spoon and ladle for soup
Blender (A stick blender will also work, but you won’t have a completely smooth texture.)
1. Over medium low heat, pre-heat a large saucepan or small stock pot. Once hot, add butter.
2. Once butter is melted, add onion and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
3. Saute onions until translucent and lightly caramelized, approximately 5 minutes.
4. Add carrot and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
5. Add 1 cup of chicken broth, cover with lid and allow to boil for 5 minutes.
6. Add rest of chicken stock – turn heat up and bring to a rapid boil.
7. Once boiling add ½ of the broccoli florets – cover with lid, reduce heat to simmer and cook for NO MORE than 3-4 minutes.
8. Place beans into the blender. Ladle in ¾ of broccoli mixture – be sure to add a generous amount of the liquid.
9. Blend until completely smooth starting on low and ending on the highest setting approximately 2 minutes.
10. Pour soup back into pot. Bring back to boil. Add the rest of the broccoli florets – cover with lid and cook for 3-4 minutes more.
11. If adding cream, add now – stir to heat through – check seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste.
12. Ladle into bowls and top with shredded cheese. Serve with a hearty, crusty, whole grain bread and a simple salad with oil and vinegar. Delish!