Calm Chowder

Clam Chowder

I love clam chowder. I’ve always loved this lovely soup. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t enjoy this fabulous little creation. It is to me the epitome of comfort food.

Want to know the secret a really good clam chowder? Bacon drippings! Obviously you could skip this and just use olive oil, but the flavor of the bacon really enhances the soup. What’s comfort food without a little naughty? And bacon drippings are definitely naughty. Shhhhh! Don’t tell anyone! ;oP

Clam chowder can be made many different ways, and I’ve made various types over the years, but this version is hearty, chunky, and just perfect for a cold winter day! If soup is for dinner, and you like clams, this is the soup for you!

What You’ll Need:
Extra virgin olive oil
1 pound of bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped (Note: I used a yellow onion this go around, but I usually use red onions instead.)
8 stalks of celery, chopped
4 potatoes, cut into bite sized cubes
2 large carrots, shredded
A generous pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 a teaspoon of dried thyme
1/4 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
4 cups of water
3 bay leaves
6 – 6.5 ounce cans of clams in juice, undrained
1 – 8 ounce bottle of clam juice
1/2 a quart of half and half (Note: I usually use the fat free variety, but regular will work as well. If you want to go really crazy you can use heavy cream!)

Add a little olive oil to the bottom of a very large stock pot and place chopped bacon in the pot and saute until crisp. Remove bacon, leave the bacon drippings.

Add onion, celery and potatoes and cook until the onions and celery are just tender.

Add carrots and stir to mix. Cook for about 2 minutes.

Next add flour and stir to coat the vegetables. Cook for another 2 minutes, but do not let the flour brown.

Next add thyme, salt, pepper and bay leafs, along with the water and stir to mix. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook covered until potatoes are fork tender, usually about 30 minutes.

Add clams, clam juice and half and half and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes until soup is heated through and slightly thickened.

Remove bay leafs and serve immediately.

You can also store this soup in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a year.

Notes: You could add in corn too if you liked, for an even chunkier chowder. Leeks would also be a good addition to this soup.

Rustic Vegetable Soup

Rustic Vegetable Soup

I love soup. I’m a big fan year round, but especially in the winter. This soup came about from my wanting to incorporate the vegetables I got from our local CSA like vegetable/fruit delivery service this week. I had an eggplant, some bok choy, some chard, along with some left over black eyed peas from New Year’s Day. Before long this soup was “born”.

This soup is BIG. It makes a lot of soup. It has big chunks of vegetables and is very hearty, all while being healthy too. Pair it with some sour dough or corn bread and a side salad you’ve got a meal. In reality though the soup itself is hearty enough to be a meal, so you can enjoy it as is too!

What You’ll Need:
Extra virgin olive oil
2 large carrots, cut into round pieces
1 large red onion, chopped
2 cups of sliced mushrooms
4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large potato, cut into bite sized cubes
1 large bunch of Swiss or rainbow chard, chopped
1 bunch of bok choy, chopped
1 large eggplant, cut into bite sized cubes
2 teaspoons of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 quart of chicken broth
2 quarts of tomato sauce
1 – 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
2 cups of frozen corn
1 – 10 package of frozen lima beans
2 cups of cooked black eyed peas, undrained

First up let me be clear…You’re going to need a very BIG pot for this soup!

In a very large stockpot saute carrots, onion, garlic, mushrooms and potato in a little bit of extra virgin olive oil until tender, stirring often. Add chard and bok choy and stir until just wilted.

Add oregano, thyme, a pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground pepper and stir to mix.

Next add chicken broth, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Also add corn, lima beans and black eyed peas and stir to incorporate.

Bring to a quick boil and then lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring often for at least an hour.

Serve immediately. Left overs are great too and freeze fabulously!

Notes: If you wanted to make this vegetarian/vegan use water or vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth. You could also use other vegetables like leeks, celery, white beans, etc. Shake it up!

Chicken and Tortelloni Soup

Chicken and Tortelloni Soup

Recently I was writing a story and the main character invented this soup. I started thinking about the soup and thought “Hey I want to make that!” so I did. I was really pleased with the end result!

This recipe takes a basic chicken soup and kicks it up a notch. With the addition of heavy cream or half and half, along with tortelloni, you take the soup to a whole other level. This soup is slightly creamy, hearty and just perfect for a cold winter day!

What You’ll Need:
Extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 cups of sliced mushrooms (Note: You can use any variety of mushroom that you like or a mix of varieties.)
1 leek, chopped
Sea salt
Finely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of dried thyme
2 cups of frozen corn kernels
1 – 10 ounce package of frozen lima beans
1 quart of diced tomatoes (Note: I used some I had canned myself. You could also use two cans of diced tomatoes instead.)
5 cups of chicken broth (Note: I make my own and store it in the freezer in wide mouth glass canning jars and then thaw when I’m ready to use it. You can use store bought broth instead.)
2 cups of chicken chunks
1 1/2 cups of heavy cream or half and half
1 – 8 ounce pacakge of tortelloni (Note: I used a variety with spinach and ricotta. You could also use the stuffed pastas that you find in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.)

In a large stock pot saute red onion, carrots, celery and leeks, along with a generous pinch of sea salt and finely ground pepper, as well as the thyme until just tender.

Next add frozen corn and lima beans and stir to mix. Cook for about 2 minutes to knock the chill out of the vegetables.

After the vegetables are in the pot add diced tomatoes, chicken broth and chicken. Stir and then bring to a quick boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes bring the soup back to a slow boil. Add heavy cream and tortelloni and cook for an additional 10-13 minutes until tortelloni is tender and then serve.

Notes: As with any soup you can easily mix this up a bit. You could add different types of frozen vegetables. Peas or edamame would be a good addition. You could use a different kind of onion or shallots instead. The possibilities are endless.

Crayfish Gumbo

Crawfish Gumbo

Alexis and I have been exploring a lot lately. I get in these modes when it feels like there is something out there just outside of my grasp that I’m supposed to be doing, or someone I’m supposed to know, but the universe hasn’t decided to share yet. The other day we were out and about, having fun, laughing and just generally enjoying ourselves as we are prone to doing and I actually found crayfish at a local market! I was thrilled!

It’s been years since I had crayfish, since before Lex was born in fact. When we lived in Anne Arundel county I used to pick it up at Whole Foods now and again, but I hadn’t found any this area until the other day! The ones I found were already steamed, but hey, that works! A crayfish is a crayfish after all!

Alexis had a ball playing “helping me” with the crayfish. She had them “talk” to each other, have battles and even helped me in the process of cleaning/shelling them as you can see in the pictures below where she is my demo girl for the pictures. She amuses me, which is neither here nor there, but we really do have a lot of fun together!

Anyway…

I originally thought I might make etouffee, but ultimately decided I’d rather just make a big pot of gumbo! This turned out great! I was really pleased with the result. After all what’s better than a big bowl of gumbo and rice?

What You’ll Need:
5-6 pounds of whole crayfish or 2-4 cups of crayfish meat
1 cup of oil (Note: You can use olive or a clear oil. I’ve used both in the past.)
3/4 a cup of unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of finely ground black pepper
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch of celery, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 quarts of chicken broth
2 tablespoons of Creole or Cajun seasoning, preferably salt free
1 – 1 lb package of frozen okra or 2-3 cups of fresh okra sliced
Cooked rice

As I mentioned the crayfish I found were already steamed. I actually popped the bag in the freezer when I bought them a couple of weeks ago because I knew I wouldn’t get to them right away.

Crawfish Gumbo: Out of the Freezer

I placed the frozen crayfish in a big pot:

Crawfish Gumbo: Ready for Water

Then I covered them in water:

Crawfish Gumbo: Ready for a Quick Boil

Bring them to a quick boil covered and remove from heat. In this case these are already cooked so you don’t have to cook them again, you just want to knock the chill off of them.

After about 5 minutes drain and place in a bowl to cool:

Crawfish Gumbo: Steamed Crawfish

While the crayfish are cooling let’s get busy with some other aspects of the gumbo!

Chop your trinity (aka your pepper, onion and celery) and set aside:

Crawfish Gumbo: Holy Trinity

Now get to work on your roux!

Roux isn’t difficult, though it has a reputation for being so. You basically have oil and flour and you cook it until it’s a nutty brown. It will look golden and smell nutty. I love that smell!

Crawfish Gumbo: Roux

How gorgeous is that?

Basically you add the oil to your stock pot, stir in the flour and your salt and pepper and cook on low to medium, stirring often until you achieve the nutty color/smell.

Many recipes call for you to stir roux constantly, but I’m not going to lie to you, that’s not happening with me! There are very few things I’ll stir constantly, custard being the only one I can think of right off the top of my head. I stir, then chop something, then come back and stir, and then do something else. Every two minutes or so I give it a good stir for 30 seconds or so, but not constantly.

When the roux is a nutty brown (this usually take 15-45 minutes depending on your stove top) add your trinity:

Crawfish Gumbo: Holy Trinity Added to Roux

Cook stirring often until onion, pepper and celery are just tender.

Next add broth, Creole or Cajun seasoning and okra:

Crawfish Gumbo: Broth, Creole Seasoning and Okra Added

Cover and simmer for 2 to 3 hours.

You will add the crayfish to the pot during the last five minutes of cooking or so. Now let’s see how to “clean” them!

First look at your crayfish:

Crawfish Gumbo: Crawfish

The “big” piece of meat on a crayfish is its tail. 5-6 pounds of whole crayfish sounds like a lot, but they are little and there isn’t a lot of meat there! Some people like to suck the head, but I can’t say that appeals to me at all.

The first thing you want to do is remove its arms. If it has big claws you might be able to get a small piece of meat out of the claw itself, but in most cases there isn’t anything in there to write home about so if it’s little like the one pictured above I wouldn’t even bother.

Flip the crayfish over and hold it with your fingers like so:

Crawfish Gumbo: Ready to Snap

Pull down on both ends and snap the crayfish in two:

Crawfish Gumbo: Snap

It should break in to head section and tail section. Dispose of the head, unless you’re one of those who enjoys that part of the crayfish.

Next hold the piece of meat that is sticking out of the shell with one hand while holding the shell with the other:

Crawfish Gumbo: Ready to Pull the Tail

Tug gently and the meat should slip right out of the shell:

Crawfish Gumbo: Tail Free

Every once in a while you’ll come across a stubborn tail and you might have to crack the shell a bit, which you can easily do with your fingers, but for the most part they just slide right out.

Along the back of the crayfish tail there is a membrane and if you remove it you’ll discover the vein right underneath:

Crawfish Gumbo: Vein

Give the vein a little pull and it will slide right off to be disposed of:

Crawfish Gumbo: Deveined

Place the crawfish in a bowl or container and give them a little rinse to make sure they are good and clean:

Crawfish Gumbo: Tails Cleaned

Place cleaned tails in the fridge until five minutes before servings gumbo and then add to the pot just long enough to heat through.

Serve gumbo over rice with hot sauce, chopped onions or just all by itself!

Notes: You can do this process with shrimp too.

My Favorite Mushroom Soup

My Favorite Mushroom Soup

I eat a lot of mushrooms. I’ve always liked them, even as a child. One of my favorite things to do with mushrooms is to make soup. A lot of people think of a creamy soup when they think of mushrooms, but my favorite is not only creamless, it’s actually vegan as well.

Mushrooms are really quite versatile and I’ve made variations of this soup over time, but I have to say this is my favorite version. When steeped in water mushrooms give you a very “beefy” broth without the cholesterol. What’s not to like about that?

This soup is easy, quick and delicious. In no time you have a steaming pot of soup that is not only healthy, but is also hearty and satisfying. Who says the two have to be mutually exclusive?

What You’ll Need:
Extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, cut into strips (Note: Sometimes I use red onions, sometimes I use white or yellow. This time around I used yellow.)
1 leek, chopped
2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, chopped fine (Note: If you don’t have fresh, you can use 1 teaspoon of dried, but the fresh really is best with this soup.)
A generous pinch of sea sat
Finely ground black pepper
2 cups of button mushroom slices
2 cups of crimini or baby bella mushroom slices
4 cups of water
2 cups of spinach leaves, chopped roughly

In a large to medium pot saute onions and leeks with sea salt, black pepper and rosemary in a little extra virgin olive oil, stirring often until slightly caramelized:

My Favorite Mushroom Soup: Leeks and Onions Slightly Caramelized

This is the only place that you are adding seasonings so be generous. You want roughly a teaspoon of sea salt and up to a teaspoon of black pepper depending on how “spicy” you like things.

Add mushrooms and stir to mix:

My Favorite Mushroom Soup: Mushrooms

Don’t worry about cooking the mushrooms before the next step. They are going to cook in the water and form the broth of the soup, just like you are making mushroom broth.

Add water and again stir to mix:

My Favorite Mushroom Soup: Ready to Cook

Cook mushrooms at a simmer until broth darkens and mushrooms are tender. This usually takes about 20 to 25 minutes.

Next add spinach leaves:

My Favorite Mushroom Soup: Spinach Added

Cook and additional 2 to 3 minutes until spinach wilts:

My Favorite Mushroom Soup

Serve immediately.

Notes: Sometimes I add in fresh thyme too, but for the most part I prefer this with the rosemary alone.

Creamy Potato Soup

Creamy Potato Soup

First let’s talk about this snow! *sigh*

Snow, Snow, Snow! *sigh*

It’s no secret that I love snow, but I’ve come to discover over the past week I do not like snow of this magnitude! Give me 4-8 inches and I’m happy, I don’t even mind shoveling that much snow! But add in more than that, and then two big storms back to back for a total of 53 inches of snow since Friday (28 the first storm, 25 the second) and well, no I don’t love it! I don’t even like it!

Now there is buzz about more heavy snowfall on Sunday night in to Monday and an ice storm in 10 days! That makes me want to go to Hawaii, now, only the county has closed all of our roads and I couldn’t get down to the main road right now if I wanted to, not that it is clear to begin with. I’ve got serious cabin fever right now people!

So no, I’m not loving this snow and I’m not loving the thought of more. At. All! If anyone has any ideas on how to become independently wealthy by tomorrow so I can hop a plane out of here, you let me know! ;oP

Sun!

But the sun is shining today! Oh how I missed you Mr. Sun! And we’re supposed to hit a balmy 33! Let’s break out the flip flops! ;oP

Now let’s talk soup!

Cold snowy weather makes me think of soup and bread. Yesterday I decided to be decadent and make a really creamy potato soup. It was fabulous! There is just nothing like a creamy bowl of warm soup on a cold winter day!

Oh and if anyone wants some snow, I’d be happy to send you some. Really! There are piles out there taller than me (I’m five foot nine and half inches tall!) so we’ve got plenty to spare. ;oP

Snow Piled High

What You’ll Need:
2 tablespoons of butter
1 small red onion, chopped
Finely ground black pepper
Sea salt
1 large potato, cut into cubes (Note: No need to remove the skin.)
1 quart of broth (Note: I used turkey broth that I had made and put in the freezer. Chicken broth will work too.)
2 baked potatoes, mashed (Note: If you don’t want to take the time to bake them in the oven. Pop them in the microwave instead. I recommend baking them in the oven though.)
2 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup of potato flour (Note: If you don’t have potato flour on hand you can use regular flour, but the potato flour gives it a nice punch.)

Melt butter in a medium to large sized pot. Saute onions until tender:

Creamy Potato Soup: Onions

Add cubed potatoes, a generous pinch of sea salt and some finely ground pepper to onions. Cook until potatoes are slightly browned stirring often:

Creamy Potato Soup: Potatoes Slightly Browned

Add broth and stir to mix:

Creamy Potato Soup: Broth Added

Bring to a quick boil.

While you are waiting for the broth to boil, mash your potatoes. I like to do this in my food processor.

Slice your potato into rounds and place in the bowl of your food processor:

Creamy Potato Soup: Potatoes Ready to Mash

No need to remove the skins. Just leave them on there!

Process until smooth:

Creamy Potato Soup: Mashed Potatoes

Once the broth has come to boil, reduce heat to a simmer and add the mashed potatoes to the pot of broth:

Creamy Potato Soup: Mashed Potatoes Ready to Stir In

Stir in the potatoes:

Creamy Potato Soup: Mashed Potatoes Added

It doesn’t have to be smooth. It’s just bit of potatoes.

Let the mixture cook for about 30 minutes.

Add cream and stir to mix:

Creamy Potato Soup: Cream Added

Cook for about 3 or 4 minutes so that the cream warms and then add the potato flour:

Creamy Potato Soup: Ready to Whisk

Whisk the flour into the soup and then cook for another 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Serve immediately.

Oh and the leftovers are fabulous!

Notes: You can eat this as is or top it with cheddar, scallions and/or bacon. The broth that I made had hints of thyme and rosemary in it so that carried over into the soup in a very subtle way.

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Snowy Day Chili

Snowy Day Chili: With Toppings

It started snowing last night again and we ended up getting four more inches of snow on top of what we already had on the ground. We may get more snow this weekend too, I’ve heard everything form a dusting, to perhaps up to ten inches!

Snow makes me think of soups and stews and yesterday I really had a taste for chili! I had soaked beans on Monday and planned to make pinto beans for dinner last night so that’s what Alexis and I had, but no one says you can’t take the left overs and make a little chili! ;oP

This morning I put together a pot and Alexis and I had chili for lunch. There is just nothing like a hearty bowl of chili on a cold winter day!

What You’ll Need:
Extra virgin olive oil
1 red onions, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of cherry tomatoes (Note: I used some I had frozen this summer. Just throw them in whole.)
1 pound of ground beef
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 teaspoons of black pepper
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of paprika
2 tablespoons of chili powder
1/2 tablespoon of ground chipolte chili powder
1/4 to 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (Note: Again more if you like it spicy, less if you don’t.)
2-3 cups of pinto beans (Note: More if you like beans, less if you don’t.)
1 quart of diced tomatoes (Note: I used some I canned this summer. You can use a large can from the store instead.)
1-2 cups of water (Note: Just to thin things out a bit, but you don’t want it too thin.)

Add some olive oil to a large stock pot and saute onions, peppers and garlic until just tender. Add cherry tomatoes, ground beef and seasonings:

Snowy Day Chili: Ready to Cook Meat

Cook for 3-5 minutes until meat is mostly browned and the add beans:

Snowy Day Chili: Ready for Diced Tomatoes

Next add diced tomatoes and water:

Snowy Day Chili: Ready to Simmer

Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer. Simmer covered for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Make sure the cherry tomatoes have cooked through:

Snowy Day Chili: Done!

Serve plain, or with cheese and sour cream. Chives or scallions are good too!

Snowy Day Chili

Notes: This is one of the rare time I actually used ground beef in my chili. Most of the time I make a vegetarian version, or my recent foray into ground chicken. I really just had a taste for a more “traditional” chili today.

Creamy Salmon Potato Soup

Creamy Salmon Potato Soup

I love snow. I really do. I love watching the flakes swirl and twirl through the air on their way down to the ground. I love how the snow clings to everything in its path, giving the world a quiet, beautiful, bright glow. And surprisingly enough I even enjoy shoveling (though my back wasn’t up for it this past weekend)…I know, I know, I’m weird. But snow also makes me want to cook!

This weekend we had our first snow of the season. I actually didn’t think it was going to amount to much, but we got a very nice little snow, right around 5 1/2 inches the last time I measured, that was fun to watch and play in. You can’t ask for a better weekend than that!

On Saturday I decided I wanted to make some soup. You see snow falling and it makes me think that a nice hearty soup is in order. I had some left over salmon and I was in the mood for potato soup so I thought I’d combine the two. Add some bacon and a few other simple ingredients and you’ve got the perfect, hearty soup for that lovely snowy day!

What You’ll Need:
3 slices of thick center cut bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 a sweet onion, chopped
3 potatoes, 2 chopped, 1 baked and mashed
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 quart of broth (Note: I used turkey, but chicken broth will be fine too.)
1 cup of heavy cream
1 cooked salmon fillet, flaked (Note: I usually cook my salmon with dill, so there was an underlying dill flavor there.)

Add bacon to a medium sized pot and let cook over medium heat for a minute or two:

Creamy Salmon Potato Soup: Bacon

Next add butter and let melt and then stir in onions:

Creamy Salmon Potato Soup: Onions, Bacon and Butter

Cook until onions are tender, stirring often.

Next add a pinch of sea salt, some freshly grated black pepper and chopped potatoes and stir to mix:

Creamy Salmon Potato Soup: Ready for Broth

Add broth and bring to a quick boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until potatoes are tender.

For the baked potato you can use a left over baked potato, or you can “bake” (i.e. steam) one in the microwave. Cut the baked potato into pieces, skin and all, and add to a food processor and process until smooth:

Creamy Salmon Potato Soup: Mashed Potato

This mashed potato mixture helps thicken the soup slightly. Add the mashed potato mixture to the soup as the potatoes are cooking and stir to mix.

Once the potatoes are tender stir in salmon and heavy cream to mix. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to heat through and serve immediately.

Notes: This soup could easily be made without the salmon. Bacon could also be added to the top of the soup as a garnish, along with a little cheese.

Vegetable Beef Soup

Vegetable Beef Soup

If you’ve been around Dianne’s Dishes for a while you know I’m a big fan of my slow cooker. With a few simple ingredients you can drop them in and have a really fabulous, healthy meal with little, to no effort. Slow cookers are very versatile, but they are exceptionally fabulous for soups/stews.

This soup is very simple, yet still delicious. It’s full of vegetables, which are always a good thing, and just the right amount of meat to give it a hearty bite. The best part is that you just throw it all in and in a few hours you’ve got the perfect, warm, healthy meal that really hits the spot on a cold fall night!

What You’ll Need:
1 quart of broth (Note: I used beef broth, but you can use whatever you like.)
1 quart of diced tomatoes (Note: I used some I canned this summer, but you can use a large can if you like.)
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
2 cups of yellow squash, diced (Note: I used some I had frozen from the summer, but fresh will work fine.)
2 cups of green beans (Note: Again I used some I had frozen, but fresh will work here too.)
1 small package of frozen lima beans
1 pound of ground beef, broken into little pieces (Note: You could use ground chicken or turkey instead if you wanted.)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of finely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons of dried thyme

So this is basically a dump and eat soup. Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker as is (i.e. raw). Give it a stir to mix everything and cook on high for 4-5 hours until meat is done through.

Notes: You could add in any vegetable that you liked. Mushrooms are always a good addition. Peas and/or corn would be good too.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I love Broccoli Cheese Soup, but I’ve never actually made my own. Something about it intimidated me, though I’m not quite sure why. It’s really a simple soup, but for some reason in my head I had built it up to mythic proportions, when in reality something that tastes good doesn’t have to be difficult.

When I get blue I want comfort food. Yes I know, food shouldn’t be comfort, but what can you do? It happens, I won’t deny that it does. I had bought the ingredients I thought would be good in a Broccoli Cheese Soup last Friday, but then I didn’t feel much like cooking over the weekend. Monday for lunch I thought it would hit the spot since it was a dreary sort of day. I told my sister last week I needed to come up with a Broccoli and Cheese soup, so no time like the present!

What I came up with was fabulous! It’s rich, creamy and yes you wouldn’t want to eat this everyday, but there are a lot of foods that are that way. If you’re a fan of Broccoli Cheese Soup this is the soup for you!

What You’ll Need:
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of butter
4 shallots, chopped
2 heaping tablespoons of unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of finely ground black pepper
1 quart of chicken broth (Note: I used some I had made, but store bought will be fine.)
2 cups of fat free half and half (Note: Regular half and half will be fine, or even heavy cream if you just want to go all out.)
7 ounces of Colby cheese, shredded
1 – 16 ounce package of frozen broccoli

Melt butter in olive oil and sauté shallots until slightly caramelized:

Broccoli Cheese Soup: Shallots

Add flour, salt and pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring often until slightly browned:

Broccoli Cheese Soup: Mini Roux

This makes a mini “roux”. You want to basically cook the flour, but not let it go all the way to nutty brown.

Add chicken broth and half and half and stir until smooth. Bring to a quick boil, then lower heat to simmer. Add cheese and stir until melted. Next add broccoli and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring often.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Serve immediately.

Notes: If you can’t find shallots, finely chopped red onion will work fine. You could top this with chopped bacon if you preferred. Also if you wanted to process the soup to make the broccoli finer you could, but I like my soup chunky.