Monday, November 7, 2011

Lightened Broccoli & Cheddar Soup

I love soup.  And this is just the right time of year for it. Well, I could really eat soup all year round but it is just much more fitting in the fall and winter rather than the dog days of summer.  I made this lightened broccoli and cheddar soup last year and it was a great combination of broccoli, cheese and creaminess...just without the cream.  Instead, Cook's Illustrated found that they could lighten the soup by using leeks (which are pureed to give a silky texture) and fat-free evaporated milk which makes it thick and creamy.  Genius!  Make sure you use high-quality cheddar cheese, which is important for the whole "less is more" idea.  Such a good soup that I had to make it again this year.

The one mistake I made was that I added an extra cup of water before pureeing because I thought it looked too thick.  This made the pureed soup a little too thin for me so I would suggest pureeing it first and then adding water or broth as needed. I only do a light puree because we like a little extra texture to our soup.

This broccoli and cheddar soup was served alongside a salad and toasted French baguette slices, making it a simple but filling meal for us (the toast was excellent for dipping in the soup!). Next time, I might try making bread bowls for it, too!

Lightened Broccoli & Cheddar Soup
Taken from: America’s Test Kitchen: Light & Healthy 2010 (an excellent cookbook)
Serves 4-6 (ATK calculated 255 calories/serving for 5 servings)
  • 1 bunch broccoli (about 1 ½ pounds), florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stems trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick, divided use
  • 1 pound leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin, and rinsed thoroughly
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup fat-free evaporated milk (see note)
  • 1/2 - 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Extra shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  1.  Combine the broccoli stems, leeks, oil, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a large pot or Dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just beginning to soften, 6 to 8 minutes. Uncover, stir in the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in the broth and water and bring to a ­simmer over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the broccoli stems are softened, about 8 minutes. Add the broccoli florets, cover, and continue to cook until tender, about 5 minutes longer.
  3. Working in 2 batches, process the broccoli mixture in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute (we like our soup chunkier so I only pulse the first batch and puree the second). Transfer the broccoli mixture to a clean Dutch oven, whisk in the evaporated milk and mustard, and warm over low heat until very hot.
  4. Off the heat, whisk in the cheese, one handful at a time, until the cheese is melted and the soup is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top bowls with extra shredded cheddar cheese (optional).
  5. When reheating, make sure to not bring the soup to a boil.

1 comment:

  1. I could absolutely eat soup year-round also! Especially when it's as delicious and good for you as this!