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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Maintaining Traditions: Broccoli Cheese Soup with Apple

Thanksgiving was pretty mellow this year. There were only 9 of us, so I bought a 16 lb. turkey, which is the smallest I've cooked in years.

Which actually turned out to be kind of problematic... because the turkey ended up hitting temperature about an hour before I thought it would be done and I hadn't put ANYTHING else in the oven yet. As I'm standing in the kitchen staring wide-eyed at the completely cooked bird while simultaneously calculating all the side dishes that weren't even close to done, Mr. Soup came in and asked if I wanted him to rice the potatoes for me. There was an edge of terror in my voice as I replied, "I haven't even BOILED the potatoes yet!"

So, when I say Thanksgiving was mellow, I'm referring to everything except that final hour before I served dinner. That hour was pretty much hell.

On the bright side, I had already served the annual soup, following our tradition of serving it in teacups. This year I made a broccoli cheese soup, because it's my mom's favorite.  I find broccoli a tad bit bitter - it is part of the cabbage family, after all. So to balance the bitterness a bit I added some apple. Apple is so very Thanksgiving-y anyway. And to make it rich and creamy, I added a generous portion of extra-sharp white cheddar. Calories don't count on Thanksgiving.

And if a creamy broccoli cheesy cup of goodness won't mellow you out, nothing will.

Broccoli Cheese Soup with Apple

3 T. butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 2 cups)
1 t. salt
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped (about 1 generous cup)
3 T. all-purpose flour
4 c. broccoli florets (I bought a bag at Costco because I'm lazy)
4 c. chicken broth
1 c. cream
8 oz. extra-sharp white Cheddar Cheese, grated (I used Tillamook)
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste

In a large heavy soup pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add onion and salt and sauté until onon is quite soft and starting to caramelize in spots, stirring often, around 12 minutes or so. Stir in the chopped apple and stir again to combine. Add the flour, and stir and cook until the raw scent of flour has left the pot, around 2 more minutes.

Add the broccoli florets and the chicken broth and bring the whole mixture to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered until the broccoli is entirely soft, around 20-25 minutes. Add the cream, and then use an immersion blender to smooth out the whole soup. This might take a little patience. Stir in the cheese until it's completely melted. Do not boil once you add the cheese.

This is one of those rare soups that tastes great right out of the gate. I made it 2 days ahead for Thanksgiving, and thought it lost a little oomph in the cheese department as it sat. I ended up adding more cheese right before serving. I wouldn't recommend this one for freezing, but it's still tasty 2 days post-holiday, so it will last in the fridge a few days.

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