Soup

Broccoli, Cheddar, and Ale Soup

I’ve had a yen for broccoli cheese soup over the last few weeks, which is weird because I’ve never had it before. I either saw a recipe for it somewhere, or someone told me they had it, and I’ve had my mind set to make it ever since.

However, since the climate here has been, um, rather warm – until yesterday – I’ve found it hard to embrace soup weather. That all changed yesterday when I let the dogs out and discovered that their water bowl was completely frozen. And they all stood there looking at me as if to say, “Hey, stupid, can’t you see the problem here?”. Well, 19 degree temperatures will do that…..

Anyway, I am happy to report that last night, I finally indulged my craving for this soup – and gave the dogs a bowl of non-frozen water. Everyone was happy. And warm.

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Broccoli Cheddar Ale Soup – adapted from Williams Sonoma

Note: After researching multiple recipes for this type of soup, I found that roasting the broccoli beforehand really improves the flavor.

  • 2 bags (12 oz) each broccoli florets
  • 2 tbs. olive oil (for the broccoli)
  • 2 tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced fine
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and diced fine
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 12 oz bottle pale ale
  • 1 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (reserve a small amount for garnish)
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the broccoli on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with fresh ground black pepper. Roast in the oven until browned but still crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

In a 4 1/2-quart Dutch oven or large stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter with the 1 tbs olive oil. Add the onion and carrots, season with black pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the ale and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the Worcestershire, milk and broth, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the broccoli (reserving a few small florets for garnish) and simmer for 7-8 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender until smooth.

Set the pot over medium-low heat and add the cheese by the handful, stirring constantly; do not allow the soup to boil. Season with pepper. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, and garnish with reserved florets and a sprinkling of reserved cheese. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

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