Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cream of broccoli soup


It’s officially fall! While I’m really sad to see the long days, lazy afternoons by the pool and hot sunshine fade away, a new season means new recipes.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m sort of obsessed with soups, stews and chili during the cooler months. They’re so easy, they’re relatively inexpensive and the abundance of leftovers means my husband and I eat well for our next-day lunches. And, with so many fewer fruit and veggie options to pick from in fall and winter, they’re one of the easiest ways to eat meatless and still keep it interesting.

This recipe from my mom/Auntie Carol is one of my all-time favorite winter comfort foods. It’s thick, it’s creamy and it just tastes like home. And if you have kids who refuse to eat broccoli (my big kid/husband calls it a “vile weed” ala Newman on Seinfeld), it’s one way to try to sneak it in without creating a major meltdown.

Keep in mind that this recipe has “cream” in the name, which means it’s not low fat. I’ve modified it slightly from the original to reduce some of the fat overkill, but if you’re trying to keep your winter waistline in check, I would recommend this recipe as a once a month treat and not part of your weekly repertoire. Enjoy!

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Ingredients:
4 c. chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
1 can cream of celery soup 
12 oz. chopped fresh broccoli
¼ c. butter
¼ c. all-purpose flour
2 c. milk
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
¼ c. shredded cheddar

Directions:
Mix broth and cream of celery soup in a large saucepan. Bring to boil over med-high heat. Add broccoli; return to boil and reduce heat. Simmer covered for 5 min. or until broccoli is tender.

Heat butter in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 5 min. Add flour, cook 1 min. longer. Gradually stir milk into skillet with onion mixture. Cook, stirring continually until thickened, about 5 min. Add salt and pepper, mix well.

Stir milk mixture into broccoli mixture. Simmer over low heat stirring frequently, about 10 min. Ladle into bowls and top with shredded cheddar.

Recommendations:
  1. Broth - Substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth to take this meal from meatless to vegetarian. Trader Joe’s Organic is the best and cheapest option for either.
  2. Cream of celery soup - Use organic cream of celery soup like Pacific Natural Foods or Health Valley instead of Campbells to avoid unnatural ingredients and excess salt and fat. Both are available at your regular grocer in the health foods section.
  3. Broccoli - If fresh broccoli is unavailable or not on sale, substitute frozen.
  4. Milk – Use what you’ve got in the house. 2% is best, but since I always have skim on hand I just use 1 ¾ c. of that and add in a ¼ c. cream or half-and-half to help thicken it a bit. 

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