Ellie Krieger’s Broccoli-Cheddar Soup from Comfort Food Fix: Feel Good Favorites Made Healthy (Wiley, Oct.) is a refreshing reworking of the usual broccoli-cheddar soups that can taste like bowls of nacho cheese decorated with tiny specks of green. This one is heavy on the broccoli, light on the cheese, and packs plenty of flavor; pureeing the soup in a blender gives it a luxuriously creamy texture. You could certainly top your bowl with extra grated cheddar, but I didn’t even think it needed it.
2 cups low-fat (1%) milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup lightly packed, shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large head broccoli, florets and tender part of stems, chopped (about 6 cups)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a small saucepan, whisk together the milk and flour until the flour dissolves. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened, about 3 minutes. Add the cheese and cook, stirring, until melted, 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and cook for 30 seconds. Add the broccoli and chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the broccoli is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, about 15 minutes.
Working with about 1 cup at a time, puree the broccoli mixture in a blender until it is mostly smooth but still has some chunks, and then transfer it to another pot. (Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender.) Stir the cheese mixture into the broccoli puree, season with salt and black pepper to taste, and cook over medium-low heat until warmed through, 3 to 5 minutes more.
Makes 4 servings