So, I think I've mentioned that I watch ALOT of FoodNetwork. A. lot. I'm pretty dedicated, too. I follow Giada like a lost puppy with Ina Garten coming in a close second. My perfect Saturday morning is waking up early to watch their new episodes.
Recently, I found a NEW FN Chef to follow: Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. Not only is she a great cook, but she is also quirky and creative. Love it! Plus, she started off as a blogger! It's a match made in heaven.
This evening I made her Broccoli Cheese Soup. Now, when ever I look up a recipe online, I ALWAYS read the reviews. They are often incredibly helpful. The reviews for Ree's soup were, sadly, not overwhelmingly good. Also, she used quite a bit of fatty ingredients (NOT judging here--but I'll cut the calories where I can). So I added 4 of my own twists to what she has done.
Here's the line up:
3 C. reduced sodium chicken broth
3 C. 2% Milk
2 C. Half & Half (I used the reduced fat kind. Judge me.)
1/3 C. flour
1 stick of butter
1/2 of one big onion
3 broccoli crowns
1/2 bag of matchstick carrots
1 clove of garlic
1 T chopped thyme
1 t Kosher salt
1 T pepper
pinch of nutmeg
2 bags of reduced fat cheddar cheese
I just tried to upload my pictures of the process onto Scrom...guess what? They were accidentally deleted. Sigh. Technology. Another instance of having to use your imagination.
First thing's first: I melted the stick of butter and added the diced onion, garlic and thyme. I love chopping veggies. I could make someone a very dedicated sous chef.
Once those were soft/translucent, I added in the flour, whisking the whole time. Next, came the 3 cups of milk, 3 cups of broth, and 2 cups of half and half. Ree uses 4 cups of whole milk...but I read it made it very, well, milky. Which is not what I think when I think broccoli cheddar soup. Chicken broth has sommore flavor...so I opted to half the milk.
Next I added in the 3 crowns of broccoli, which I chopped into bite sized pieces, along with the potatoes (also bite-sized) and half the bag of carrots. Ree doesn't use potatoes or carrots..but I can't imagine broccoli cheddar soup without those little pieces of carrots! The pot is getting full by now...so add in that pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Next, just let it do it's thing, covered on low heat, for about 30 minutes. Add in ALL of the cheese next. I had a softball sized round of gouda on hand, so I tossed half of that in, too.
Stir, stir, stir. It looks a little separated and chunky...just keep stirring! At this point, I mashed it a little with my potato masher (my husband and I like big chunks of broccoli).
I kept it on low heat for another 10 minutes just to let it thicken.
And here is the finished product! (Technology won't hold me down!) As my mom always says, it will be even better the next day, due to all of the meshing of lingering flavors.
Soon, I will be sharing my Brie mashed potatoes that I am bringing to our Thanksgiving dinner table. It is absolutely to die for!