Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Soup

It’s a rainy (finally) winter in Napa, so here is a good way to get warm…

2 oz. butter
1/2 oz garlic, sliced thinly
4 oz. celery, sliced thinly
8 oz. onion, sliced thinly
1-1/2 lb. broccoli – cut 2 cups of the florets off for garnish, then sliced the rest 1/4″ thick
1-1/2 oz. AP flour
6 cups chicken broth
1 t. salt
1/8 t. black pepper
2 c. cream or half and half
2 c. grated cheddar cheese (I use Tillamoksharp)

Measure and prepare all ingredients as specified.

Heat a suitable pot over medium-high heat, then add the butter and garlic. Cook just until you get the aroma.

Add the onions and celery, and stir to combine evenly.

Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables soften and begin to brown.

Add the flour, and stir to incorporate evenly.

Cook the flour, stirring, for 1 minute, then add 2 cups of the broth, and stir.

The mixture will become very thick very quickly. Continue stirring until smooth.

Add the remaining broth, and stir to combine evenly.

Add the salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.

Add the chopped broccoli and stir.

Return to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook, simmering, for 25 minutes, or until the broccoli is completly soft.

Remove from the heat, and puree in a blender or Vita-mix. Place the top on the canister, then COVER THE CANISTER WITH A DRY TOWEL. When the air in the canister gets hot, it will expand. The top can blow off! Hold the top tightly for the first few seconds of processing.

Pour the pureed soup into a sieve, and press through with the back of a ladle. At this point, the soup is done.

Prepare the broccoli garnish. Heat a suitable pot of salted water over high heat, then add the florettes.

Cook until soft, about three minutes, then drain. Add to the soup base. Correct seasoning to taste. Either serve right away, or cool and refrigerate.

RIght before serving, grate the cheese coarsely. Then stir into the soup, off of the heat.

Serve with sturdy bread and a little grated cheese on top for garnish.