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.



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David Gingrass is a food and beverage operations professional with a career spanning more than three decades. His fascination with and love for food, wine and entertaining allows him to view his work as both a vocation and an avocation. Gingrass graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York then cooked in the Bay Area for two years before landing a job at Wolfgang Puck’s original Spago Restaurant in West Hollywood. There he learned to make the signature breads and sausages that he became known for at Postrio and Hawthorne Lane. He was soon promoted to kitchen manager and managed the operational and expense control aspects of Puck’s iconic restaurant for the next four years. Gingrass returned to San Francisco in 1989 when Puck tapped him and his then-wife Anne to open Postrio, Puck’s third restaurant and his first outside of Los Angeles. Postrio opened to rave reviews and soon became the #1 popular Bay Area restaurant in the prestigious Zagat survey. Five and a half years later, the opportunity to open a restaurant of his own presented itself. Hawthorne Lane opened in 1995 and was a San Francisco dining institution for over twelve years, catering to the likes of Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, Mayor Willie Brown, James Carville, President Clinton and First Lady Hilary Clinton. He closed Hawthorne Lane at the end of its fifteen-year lease in 2009 to build a consulting practice for the hospitality industry, sharing his wealth of culinary and operational experiences with new and existing restaurants, assisting them to become successful and profitable.