Broccoli Cheddar Soup of fresh broccoli with a sharp cheddar cheese, freshly ground pepper, nutmeg and paprika, basil, thyme and sage, garnished with mint leaves
Course: soups stews
Author: Sujata Shukla
1/2cupred onion sliced
a fewthyme sprigs
a fewsage leaves
1tspMadras curry powderor cayenne powder
1tspblack pepper(freshly ground)
a fewmint leavesfor garnish
Prepare the Ingredients for Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Mince the onion.
Heat a small pan, add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter and melt the butter on low flame. Sauté the minced onion till soft, about 4 minutes, on low flame, stirring periodically.
Crush the garlic into the pan, stir and sautéfor 1 minute.
Remove the onion garlic mixture from the pan and set aside and turn off the stove.
While the onion is getting sautéed, slice the broccoli into small chunks, including some of the stems. See 'Handy Tip' below. Reserve 1 table spoon of finely minced broccoli for the garnish.
Peel the carrot and dice into small pieces (about 1 cm square, though the size doesn't really matter, just that smaller pieces will tend to cook faster.)
Mince mint leaves for garnish. Grate the cheese.
How To Make Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Heat a soup pot or tall heavy bottomed pan. Melt the 4 tablespoons of butter.
Add the flour, whisking continuously for at least 4 minutes or till you get a thick, pale brown or pinkish roux. Whisking is required if you don't want the flour to catch at the bottom of the pan and burn.
Add the milk (or half and half if using), whisking it in so the roux blends into it.
Add the stock, again whisking it in. I used vegetable stock however chicken stock would also be good in this soup.
Keep on low heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or till the liquid thickens, whisking periodically and checking that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. The mixture will reduce as it simmers.
Add the broccoli and carrots.
Add the nutmeg and paprika, bayleaf, Madras curry powder/ cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt. See Handy tip 2 below.
Bring the soup to a quick boil and then let it simmer on low flame for another 15 minutes checking that the carrots and broccoli are tender.
Switch off the stove and let the soup cool sufficiently to be blended/ pureed, so you don't work with very hot liquid.
Once cool, remove the bay leaf and blend/ purée the soup, in batches if needed. The brocolli and carrot do not need to be finely pureed, a few flecks or bits would add to the appearance and texture of the soup.
Set the soup back on the stove, warm it and add the sautéed onion and garlic, chopped thyme, sage and basil.
If using dry herbs, add about 1/2 tsp of basil and a 1/4 tsp each of thyme and sage.
If not serving immediately, switch off the stove and keep the soup covered.
5 minutes before serving, warm up the soup, add the cheese, ( reserving 2 tablespoons of the grated cheddar for garnish ). Use good quality sharp cheddar, to bring out the full flavours of this soup.
Whisk the cheese till it blends into the soup. Once the cheese melts completely, about 1-2 minutes, turn off the stove.
Serve really hot, garnished with mint leaves and minced broccoli and sprinkled with cheese, with a platter of chunks of warm bread alongside.
Handy Tip:1. You can use the Broccoli stems instead of discarding them, about 1/2 a cup out of the 2 cups above.2. Instead of the Madras curry powder or red pepper, Kashmiri red chilli powder would give flavour and colour without making the soup hot and spicy. It would subtly colour the soup, though.