I wish I could gaze into a crystal ball and see the future, perhaps six months from now. I wish I could see that the progress we’ve made means something and our efforts — the talking, the patience, the healing books and the one-footstep-in-front-of-another philosophy — is working and will land our family and community somewhere better.
Of course, I can’t. Instead, I must take comfort in the fact that today is better than last week, which was better than the week before that. Things are improving, slowly. We’re healing, slowly.
Meanwhile, I really want to just get back to good food here on Sarah’s Cucina Bella. I mean, that’s what this site is all about, right?
Broccoli Cheddar Soup is one of my all-time favorite dishes. I fell in love with it years ago at a country fair, where it was served in a big bread bowl. But I seldom had it again until last year when I spent one day a week in an office not far from Panera Bread. Let’s just say that I ate it a lot working there. A lot, a lot.
Now that I am back to working exclusively at home, I’ve been left to my own devices to make my own Broccoli Cheddar Soup — and let me tell you, this is as warm and comforting as the one I remember. It’s like a hug from a loved one or a beautiful memory — it just wraps you in happy joy.
Good thing my family likes it too because now I make it a little more often than I probably should. For the past few months, I have been making this soup on a pretty regular basis. Sometimes I leave it a little more chunky. Sometimes I puree it totally. But either way, it’s always good.
I love this with a hunk of crusty bread, torn straight from the loaf. No butter … just the soup and the bread complimenting each other. Sometimes, that’s all you need — just a simple combination to make everything just right.
Note: recipe adapted from Juanita’s Cocina.
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 2½ cups half and half
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 head broccoli, florets chopped and stalk grated (about 4½ cups prepared total)
- 2 large carrots, peeled and grated
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ⅛ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 7-8 minutes, until softened and slightly golden. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the butter to the pot and melt. Whisk in the flour and cook for 3-4 minutes until smooth and golden. Whisk in the chicken stock slowly and then the half and half. Heat, whisking occasionally for 5 minutes.
- Stir the broccoli and carrots into the pot. Simmer, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the cheddar cheese a little at a time. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir, and then taste, adjusting seasoning as needed.
- Remove from the burner and use an immersion blender to puree the soup. If desired, remove some of the veggies first and then add then back after pureeing.