I can’t say this enough. I love fall foods. I mean, I love autumn for a variety of reasons – the leaves are changing, there is that morning crispness to the air, the deer and elk are running wildly in their love-making craze, and the garden and woods are both teeming with foods ready for the picking.
My garden does not grow broccoli. Perhaps one day we will find the right seed that will flourish in our shady grove, but as of yet, the hundred-year-old-plus conifers that surround our property don’t allow for quite enough sun to bring the broccoli into maturity.
Luckily, our local co-op has plenty of local broccoli, freshly picked and ready to delight. This soup is simple, and yet another (one of many), adapted and simplified form the seasonal soup cookbook I received for making a donation to Sacred Heart Shelter, with recipes donated by Seattle-area chefs. It’s my favorite soup cookbook of all time.
Speaking of favorites, I love me some Blonde Redhead. This evenings cooking was accompanied by the beauty and wonder of Blonde Redhead’s 23. If you don’t know Blonde Redhead, please take some time to acquaint yourself. This dreamy, melancholic trio from New York consists of a set of twins, Simone and Amedeo Pace, who originally hail from Italy as drummer and lead guitar/singer respectively, and the mesmerizing guitarist/keyboard player/lead singer Kazu Makino, originally from Japan. Kazu and Amedeo are married, making this trio all-family, and the couple often swap lead vocals. The love and inspiration or this group creates sounds that have always been innovative and sparked the imagination, and I’m hoping that some of that inspiration will find its way right into my soup.
- 1 1/2 pounds broccoli (approximately 2 bunches)
- 1 quart water or vegetable stock (I use a quart water with 4 tsp. instant vegetable stock)
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, diced
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese (I use Tillamook’s 60-day aged cheddar for this recipe, because it is an affordable cheddar that is BGH free, though regrettably not organic)
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk (I usually use goat’s milk, or a combination of coconut milk and half and half at a 2:1 ratio respectfully)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Trim off broccoli florets and set in a pile. Utilize broccoli stems by cutting off skins, and then chopping into smaller pieces, revealing the softer interior of the stem. Put these pieces with the florets to cook.
- Bring the water /vegetable stock to a boil in a large soup pot. Add the broccoli florets and inner-stem pieces, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 7-10 minutes with the soup lip on. Broccoli may not appear at first to fit in the vegetable broth, but it will cook down and release water. Stir occasionally, and keep the lid on to ensure water does not evaporate out.
- In a frying or cast iron pan, heat up the tbsp. butter and the tbsp. olive oil on low-medium heat, and add the chopped shallots and diced garlic. Saute for 2-3 minutes, then add to soup pot.
- Add 2 tsp. lemon juice to soup pot and stir thoroughly.
- Reduce simmering broccoli to medium-low, and add cheddar cheese and milk.
- Add approximately 2 tsp. salt, and tsp. pepper to the soup.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the soup entirely. If using a standing blender, blend in batches, making sure not to fill the blender over 2/3 full, and covering with a towel to avoid any accidents and protect yourself from steam.
- Serve soup with fresh pepper grated on top, and optionally, a little sprinkle of cheese!
Bonus recipe: Garlic cheese crostini
To make some quick and easy fancy bread to serve with your soup, you need a loaf of bread (a baguette is preferred if it is on hand, but I used a specialty mini-loaf from a local bakery), a clove of garlic, olive oil, and cheese, and about 10 minutes.
- 4 slices of baguette or mini-loaf, cut diagonally
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 cup sharp cheddar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat broiler and lightly oil baking sheet
- Cut garlic in half, and rub the cut side on each slice of bread/baguette
- Lay on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste
- Place under broiler for approximately 5 minutes, or until bread starts to brown
- Divide cheddar over tops of toast, and return to broiler until cheese melts (approximate 3-5 minutes)
- Remove from oven and serve as a side to your soup.