Broccoli-Cauliflower Cheddar Soup
Most of you will probably laugh when I tell you about the incredible amounts of snow we’ve been getting here lately. A couple weeks ago we got a whopping four inches, and we’re expected to get (up to) a couple more inches today. I know, it doesn’t quite compare to the 32 inches Pam at Cookies with Boys got (you have got to check out the pictures!), but it’s a ton for this area. I mean, we’re talking about a city that shuts down at the mere mention of snow. I can remember, on more than one occasion, seeing that schools actually closed the day before the anticipated snow just for precaution. And, in the name of full disclosure, I am just as excited as the elementary school students as I wait to hear my university’s name announced with the cancellations. SNOW DAY! In fact, I’m sitting here right now, watching the snow fall, hoping my lab midterm this afternoon will be cancelled :)
I’m originally from Illinois, so I have experienced the excitement of layering up in my snow suit and long underwear to go romp around in mountains of snow. Luckily we moved when I was young, before I had to endure the less fun sides of snow, such as shoveling it, driving in it, etc. I’m not sure I could enjoy the snow every day for months on end, but since my only memories of snow involve playing in it or getting the day off, I am quite fond of my white, powdery weather friend. I love the way it falls slowly to the ground, just floating effortlessly. To me, snowy days are the embodiment of winter perfection. I like to go outside for about five minutes, forcing Irving to partake in a photo op (what’s cuter than a cranky little dog hopping around in the snow??), then come inside, curl up on the sofa with all my boys, and watch “West Wing” on DVD. It doesn’t get better than that.
But, of course, you gotta have something to warm your insides, right? Blankets, slippers, sweaters, cuddling – all great for keeping warm, but nothing is as cozy as a warm tummy. This soup is the perfect companion on a cold, snowy day. It’s hearty and delicious without being overly rich or creamy, and I like that you can really taste the broccoli. I will say that it’s only down fall is appearance: I made this to bring to my mom for lunch one day last week, and when my stepdad saw it, he was less than impressed. He opted out of trying it, but my mom and I both really enjoyed it.
Broccoli-Cauliflower Cheddar Soup
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
12 ounces cauliflower florets (about 3 cups)
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided use
1/2 cup fat free milk
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
14 ounces broccoli florets (about 4 cups)
5 ounces shredded extra sharp cheddar
In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and celery and cook until the onions and shallot are soft and translucent. Do not let them brown. Add the cauliflower, spices and 2 cups stock. Bring broth to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce to a simmer and cook 20-30 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and easily cut, stirring occasionally. Using a potato masher or the back of a spatula, break up cauliflower. It will still be lumpy, but there should be no large pieces.
Once blended, add the milk, remaining stock, vinegar and broccoli. Return to heat and allow to simmer until the broccoli is fork tender. Using a regular blender or immersion blender, blend the mixture until mostly smooth. Stir in the cheese and serve.
Source: Coconut & Lime