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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I'm an idea stealer. I overheard my friends talking about a broccoli cheese soup they were planning on making some time this week and it sounded so good that I ran to the grocery store and made it that evening. Its embarrassing, really, the way that food runs my life. But this soup. THIS SOUP. Its amazing. I topped it with homemade garlic croutons and fried pancetta. Drool.

2 tablespoons butter
2 pounds broccoli, florets and stems
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 pinches of cayenne
3 cups water
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups fresh spinach
3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 ounces parmesan
salt & pepper

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup of 1-inch cubed ciabatta or french bread
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Chop the broccoli florets into 1-inch pieces, and trim and peel the stems and slice them in 1/4-inch slices. Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat and add the chopped broccoli, onion, garlic, mustard, cayenne and about 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring frequently for about 6 minutes. Add 1 cup of water and the baking soda, cover and reduce the heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes- stirring once halfway through the cooking time. You'll know that the veggies are cooked when they are very soft.

Once finished, add the remaining 2 cups of water and 2 cups of chicken broth and return the heat to medium-high heat. When mixture begins to simmer again, add the spinach and cook for about 1 minute. Meanwhile, grate the cheeses and add them to the soup and process using a hand blender. Or, process in a stand blender in batches. Return to pot, taste for salt & pepper, and serve in bowls.

To make the croutons: melt butter and olive oil in a pan and add the garlic powder. Add the cubed bread and toss to coat. Spread onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes, tossing the cubes halfway in between.

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