Sunday, September 11, 2011

Broccoli & Cheddar Soup w/ Jumbo Croutons

2 Large heads of Broccoli
2 Celery Stalks – diced
2 Carrots – peeled and diced
1 Cup Crimini Mushrooms – diced
2 Med. Onions – diced
4 Cloves of Garlic – crushed
2 Sweet Potatoes – peeled and diced
2 Large White Potatoes – peeled and diced
1 ½ Cups White Wine
2 Cups Water
4 Cups Chicken Stock
2 Cups Half & Half Cream
2 Cups Cheddar Cheese – shredded
2 Tbsp Butter
Garlic Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Heat Oven to 400 degrees. Largely chop broccoli and in a large bowl, coat with EVOO, salt and pepper. Mix well and then spread out onto a baking sheet. Roast about 45 minutes or until slightly browning. Set aside 2/3 of roasted broccoli and chop it.

In a large bowl add remaining 1/3 of broccoli, mushrooms, garlic, sweet potatoes and white potatoes.

In a large pot on medium / high heat add 2 tbsp of EVOO & butter. Add in celery, carrots and onions. Sautee about 10 minutes.

Add in the broccoli, mushrooms, garlic, and potatoes. Sautee another 10 minutes.

Add 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper, stir. Add in 1 ½ cups white wine. Reduce heat to simmer and cover w/ lid cracked for 20 minutes or until almost all wine is reduced, stirring occasionally.

Add in 4 cups chicken stock (I make my own but if you buy it from a box make sure it’s low sodium). Simmer for about 20 minutes then add in 2 cups water. Simmer 1 hr covered with the lid slightly cracked.

Once all the vegetables are soft, blend in a blender or immersion mixer. Add back into the pot and add in the remaining 2/3 chopped broccoli. Simmer for about 10 minutes then add in Half & Half. Simmer another 10 minutes and then add in Cheddar Cheese.

Once cheese is melted, adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer ½ hour. If the soup is too thick, thin out with a little more chicken stock.

Take a large baquette and either chop or break into about 1 inch chunks. In a large bowl w/ bread add in EVOO, salt, pepper and paprika. Mix well then spread out on a baking sheet. When you put the broccoli to roast, add in the croutons too. Bake the croutons for about ½ hour or until they are golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Ladle the soup into a bowl and add the croutons for garnish. Enjoy.

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