Broccoli Cheddar Soup

 On the rare occasion, I like to give you guys some REAL food. Not that macarons, cookies, muffins, scones, ice cream, and brownies aren’t real food, but you know what I mean. I would love to eat nothing more than the things stated above, but can you imagine my appearance? Running to the store with chocolate on my face and cookie crumbs all over my clothes, it would be a mess, a delicious one, but a mess none-the-less. Speaking of real food, you may not recognize this as broccoli cheddar soup. I think we have all gotten too used to the neon orange, sodium laden sludge they sell as broccoli cheddar soup at corporate delis and sandwich shops. Nothing will make you happier than this soup on a gloomy day.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup 
Serves 4
Adapted from the blog 101 Cookbooks 

What you’ll need:

     croutons:

 5-6 ounces bread of your choice, cubed. (or about half of a baguette)

1/8 cup – olive oil
 

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

pepper to taste

     soup:

 2 tablespoons – olive oil

1 shallot, chopped


1 medium onion, chopped


1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (1 1/2 cups)


 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped


4 cups – low sodium vegetable broth 

1 large head of broccoli (about 1 pound), cut into small florets

2/3 cup freshly grated Cheddar, plus more for topping

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees and place the cubed bread in a large bowl. Pour the olive oil of the bread and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss well, then turn the bread onto a baking sheet and bake for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the croutons are golden and crunchy.Turn them once or twice as they bake to cook evenly.

While the croutons are baking, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the shallots, onion, and a pinch of salt. Saute for a couple minutes until translucent. Stir in the potatoes, cover, and cook for 4-5 minutes, just long enough for them to soften up.

Uncover, stir in the garlic, and then the vegetable broth. When the potatoes are cooked completely through, stir in the broccoli. Simmer until the broccoli in tender and cooked through, 3 – 5 minutes.

Immediately remove the soup from heat and puree with an immersion blender. You may need to add more vegetable broth or water depending on how much water evaporated during cooking. Add enough to liquefy the soup so the immersion blender can do it’s thing.

When the soup starts becoming smooth, add the cheddar cheese.  Taste and add more salt if needed.

Serve sprinkled with croutons, cheddar cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Tips:

If you like things spicy, throw in some cayenne pepper.

You can use cauliflower in place of the broccoli, or use a mix of the two.

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