Sundays with Friends: The Best Broccoli Soup in the Ronaverse

Today’s Sundays with Friends contributor needs no introduction.  She’s Mom!  This woman has been everything to and for me.  She’s perfect and an amazing writer.  I love her, and I know you will as well.  Take it away, Mom…a true Southern Belle!

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This is such a strange time we are living in now.  Here in NC, we have been under a stay at home order for several years…ok….it just seems like months….a couple of months.  Since we are older, we have been trying to be careful about social distancing and only going out when absolutely necessary.  We are so blessed to have Jennifer and Chris to IMG_2401help us shop and thank goodness for online ordering and pickup!  When you are retired, you go out when you want to, stopping at the grocery store to pick up a few things for a special meal, or get fresh produce.  How I miss fresh produce!  Since fresh produce and groceries are precious commodities, you do not want to waste any of it!

I had purchased some fresh broccoli at BJ’s (they have the BEST produce department of any of the big box stores.  Yes, I belong to Costco also 😉 .  Anyway, we love steamed broccoli but you can only eat so much.  In an effort to not waste my broccoli, I started thinking of ways to use it other than steamed or roasted.  Well, another pastime of retired folks is eating out!  That is not happening right now either.  Panera is on our list of “go to” places and we love the Broccoli Cheddar soup.  Well, there you go.  I made broccoli cheddar soup.  I used the recipe from Cafe Delites.  You can find the original recipe by clicking here.

The Best Broccoli Soup in the Ronaverse

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour (or plain flour)
  • 2 cups good-quality low sodium chicken stock
  • 3 cups half-and-half, (or evaporated milk or regular milk)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, or more to your taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper, or more to your taste
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable stock powder (or chicken bouillon powder)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pound (500 grams) broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 cups low fat sharp cheddar cheese

IMG_2389I like to get all my ingredients measured out and ready so I don’t forget anything.  Yes, I am getting old and forgetful.  I prepped my broccoli and carrots.  I only had baby carrots, so they got a little dance in the food processor and were none the wiser.

I melted my butter and then added the onions.  I love sweet onions, but those things can be monstrous!  Whenever I cut one up, I go ahead and chop the entire onion, use what I need, and then put the rest in a freezer baggie.  It is great to pull that ol’ baggie out and have chopped onions at the ready.

The recipe says to whisk in the flour at this point for a few minutes or until golden brown.  Right.  I read the last Sundays with Friends, the Roux made by Jason, that you can find here. Well, Jason scared the bejeezus out of me.  Hey, I am just a simple country cook.  Jason is a top drawer kinda chef.  I kept stirring that flour and waiting, and waiting, then I reread Jason’s words about going down “a dangerous road”, going by the smell (heck, all I smelled were my fragrant onions) and I wished so much for him to be standing there with me!  Then, I felt him looking over my shoulder (kinda creepy I know) and kept stirring.  Success after more than “a few minutes” as the recipe calls for.  Thank you Jason!

919CE84C-F4A4-4555-AACC-38B899A21178_1_201_aI then poured in my “chicken stock” and “half and half”.  Naw.  That didn’t happen.  I pulled out my beloved chicken Better Than Boullion and made that.  Let me tell you.  If you have not started using Better Than Boullion, then you are missing out.  It comes in more flavors than I can name.  LOVE the chicken, beef, mushroom, and ham flavors.  (You ought to cook you up some pintos flavored with that ham one 😉 ).

Now, as for that half and half, remember we are living in the Ronaverse now and going to the grocery store for a recipe is not happening.  I used regular ol’ 2% milk that I was so happy I had snagged on my last shopping trip.  Things were looking pretty good.  I could see this being a nice cream of broccoli soup after the spices were added.  But, I do not live in the world where cream of broccoli soup would be preferred over broccoli cheddar soup.  After simmering this for a bit, I added the broccoli and carrots and then IMG_2400let that get all happy for about 45 minutes.  Hey, I got busy.  There was no need to think this would not get thick without the half and half.  It worked great and saved some calories…not that the next step didn’t negate that!

When it was time for supper (we eat at the respectable retired folks supper time of 5:30) I added the cheddar – full fat cheddar – yeah, the good kind.  Oh my.  What beauty was upon us. This recipe is definitely a keeper.  I served it with our favorite frozen rolls.  If you have not tried these, then you are missing out on one of life’s simple pleasures.

Only a select few will have these special soup mugs or know where they are from.  Jack (not his real name, but the name I call him since he is my boyfriend, and it is still fun to play around and flirt when you are retired) received these as a gift from a very special daughter that loves food as much as her parents.  ♥️

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