This is a great little soup to make from your farmers’ market purchases. This year the crazy weather has produced what looks like a bumper crop of broccoli. What has actually happened is that many farms have had multiple rows or sections of fields produce faster than normal, catching up to earlier planted fields. That’s a bonus for the market shopper that loves green stuff. Everything from broccoli to chard, kale, lettuce, and the tops of turnips, carrots, radishes are all lush and ready for you to make smoothies, stir fry, soup, pesto, or salads. There’s so much choice that you can take the same ingredients and prepare them a different way every night of the week.
But let’s talk about broccoli. I’m not a fan of freezing or dehydrating this crop on its own. I simply don’t like the texture when it comes out of the freezer. Flash freezing is another matter, but that is not available to most folks. So here’s the plan. Buy it and lightly steam it. I mean for just a couple of minutes to set the color. No salt or pepper. Put it into containers and freeze it. Then use it for casseroles, soups and maybe stir fry. Primarily I stick to things where the texture won’t matter, but the flavor will. Broccoli holds the flavor just fine so put it into lasagna, mac & cheese, pesto, quinoa or rice casseroles or soup. And this cheese soup is just the ticket for a fast meal. It’s easy, healthy and uses local ingredients.
Broccoli Cheese Soup
- 2-3 cups broccoli florets, just the tip-tops of them, not the stem
- 1 cup small broccoli stems cut into small 1/4″ pieces or smaller
- 1/2 cup carrots, chopped to 1/4″ pieces or smaller
- 1 tablespoon green garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons green onion including the dark green stem, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (preferably homemade)
- 1 cup whole milk (low-fat will work, skim will not)
- 1 tablespoon arrow-root
- 2 ounces Chapel Hill Creamery Hickory Grove, grated
- 1 ounce Chapel Hill Creamery Calvander, grated
- Himalayan Salt (about 1/2 teaspoon)
- Four Corners Pepper Blend (about 1/8 teaspoon)
- Put the stock in a stainless pot or dutch oven and heat to light boil. Turn down to simmer and add the carrots and broccoli stems, cooking for 5 minutes.
- Add in the green garlic and green onions.
- Blend the milk with the arrow-root and add it to the stock, stirring with a whisk to distribute the starch evenly. Bring up to a light boil, then lower the heat and simmer to thicken.
- Thicken the soup instantly by putting it through a food processor. Blend until you like the texture.
- Add the shredded cheese and blend with a whisk.
- Add the salt & pepper.
- Add the broccoli tops and cook for just 3 minutes so they remain firm.
- Cook for just another minute or two and serve. You can top it with more broccoli, carrots, or some fresh chopped chives.