Our Foodie Friends: TJ’s Broccoli & Cheddar Soup

A lot of our friends our foodies, just like us.

Today, we’re lucky enough to have a guest chef on SnaxNTheCity!

Our dear friend TJ decided to share his broccoli & cheddar soup recipe with us, check it out:

The recipe:

1 tablespoon + 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 small/medium sweet yellow onion, diced small
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced finely
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock (chicken stock may be substituted)
2 cups heavy cream (regular half-and-half may be substituted; whole milk or 2% milk will work but soup won’t be as creamy)
2 to 3 cups broccoli florets, diced into bite-size pieces + 1 cups stems, optional (I used 3 cups florets and 1 cup stems as not to waste them)
2 large carrots, trimmed, peeled, and sliced into very thin rounds, about 1/16th-inch
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (this brought the dish together)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder, optional and to taste
pinch cayenne pepper, optional and to taste (doesn’t make soup spicy and serves to enhance flavor)
8 ounces grated high quality extra-sharp cheddar cheese

b & c soup

1.) In a small saucepan, add 1 tablespoon butter, the diced onion, and sauté over medium heat until the onion is translucent and barely browned, about 4 minutes. Stir intermittently.
2.)Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. Remove from heat and set pan aside.
3.) THIS STEP IS VERY IMPORTANT: In a large pot add 4 tablespoons butter, flour, and cook over medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes, whisking constantly (do not let it sit too long or it will burn and you will need to start over), until flour is thickened. You are making a roux and it’s very important the mixture is thick or soup will never thicken properly later.
4.) Make sure to slowly add the vegetable stock, whisking constantly.

5.)Slowly add the heavy cream, whisking constantly.
6.) Allow mixture to simmer over low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened some. Whisk intermittently to re-incorporate the ‘skin’ that inevitably forms, this is normal.
7.) While mixture is simmering, chop the broccoli and carrots. After simmering 15 to 20 minutes, add the broccoli, carrots, and the onion and garlic you previously set aside.
8.) Add the salt, pepper, smoked paprika, optional dry mustard powder, and optional cayenne. The smoked paprika is key!
9.) Allow soup to simmer over low heat for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened some. Whisk intermittently to re-incorporate the ‘skin’ that inevitably forms, this is normal.
10.) While soup simmers, grate the cheese. It’s important to use a high-quality cheese (not the cheapest thing you can find) because the flavor of the soup depends on it. Do not use pre-grated cheese in ziptop bags because that cheese is resistant to melting and won’t incorporate well. After simmering about 20 to 25 minutes, add most of the cheese, reserving a small amount for garnishing bowls. Stir in the cheese until melted and incorporated fully, less than 1 minute.
11.) Transfer soup to bowls, garnish with reserved cheese, and serve immediately. I would avoid freezing the soup to save it because of the heavy cream and cheese mixture but it may be fine, I’ve never tried it. Microwaving works for reheating, just make sure to stir half way through.

If you’re tired of watery and light soup this recipe is for you. The original recipe used half and half or whole milk but I really wanted a thick and creamy soup. I ended up making a huge pot (doubled the ingredients) and it has lasted a week just with me eating it. If you are making this for a two or more people I’d recommend doubling up but it’s fine for a one night dinner date with a bit leftover.

b & c soup 2

The key components here are the roux, the type of cheddar, and the smoked paprika. Making the roux correctly is paramount because this is what adds a bit of flavor and thickness to the dish. If you do not continuously stir it (I used a whisk) the flour will not incorporate correctly or you will burn it. Add the vegetable slowly, whisk continuously and you will begin to see the roux form lumps but it’s fine, just keep adding the stock and then the heavy cream and it’ll be perfect.

The cheddar I used was a bit more expensive than the average Kraft or store brand block cheese and it makes a difference. So splurge a bit on your cheese. I plan to try this again with a smoked cheddar (mmmmmmmm). That brings me to the smoked paprika. OH Deer Lord! It really pulled the dish together and brought out the flavor of the cheddar and broccoli. You can use regular paprika, I’m sure, but it won’t come out the same. I also opted for the pinch of cayenne pepper which also ups the flavor, but don’t add too much unless you like a spicy and thick broccoli cheddar soup.

Buon Appetito!

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