Hi, Friends! When you read my previous blogs (I know you did!), you know I made ham and cheese sliders for our Super Bowl party. I had some Provolone cheese leftover, so I looked for a recipe to use this up. I've said this before, but a great way to get a new recipe is to just enter the ingredients you have on hand into your search engine and see what pops up! I always have extra sharp cheddar on hand, so I bought some broccoli and made this delicious soup!
It looks like I took a bite out of that baguette, but I promise that's just where I tore that piece of bread off! I love whole wheat and whole grain baguettes, and you can now buy the already baked whole wheat ones at Walmart! Baguettes can be sliced for crostinis, sliced for sandwiches, diced for croutons, or just break off a piece for your soups and stews!
I forgot to tell you, this is a slow cooker recipe, and it is so easy!!! It's also a large recipe, probably about eight large bowls of soup, so you may want to half it. Here's the recipe! "First you make a roux....". That's how many French cooks begin to share a recipe! A roux is the foundation to numerous soups, sauces, gumbos, etc.! A roux is simple, it's just equal parts fat and flour. In this case it is butter. I have sautéed sweet onions in this butter (onions are not always in a roux, but something else I always have on hand is sweet onions, and in the Summer it is only Vidalia onions!). I will buy other onions as the recipes call for them. See the roux in the picture above that has thickened up after adding flour? Make sure you cook the roux enough to get the floury taste out. In the next picture I have added warm evaporated milk. In France and in culinary school, you have now made a Béchamel sauce, one of the five mother sauces in French classical cuisine. That wasn't hard, was it? This is a base for many dishes. Here's our soup recipe!
Cheese and Broccoli Recipe
This was made in a large slow cooker and made about 12 servings.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions (optional) and saute until soft. Add the garlic and flour, and season lightly with salt and pepper (you will more salt and pepper later, to taste, if needed). After this has cooked for 3-4 minutes and has become thick but no more than a light pale tan color, whisk the warm evaporated milk into the roux, whisking briskly to smooth the Bechamel. Let it cook until you have a nice sauce and the taste of the flour has cooked out. Know how to test if a sauce is done? Dip a tablespoon into it, and when it coats the back of the spoon swipe your finger across the back of the spoon; if the swipe is clean, it's done!
Pour the Bechamel sauce into your slow cooker along with the chicken broth, diced broccoli and thyme. Cover and cook on high heat for 2 1/2 - 3 hours or low heat for six hours. When this time is up, turn the slow cooker to warm (or off) and stir in heavy cream, add shredded cheeses, and stir to blend. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.
You can make this on the stove top, also. Start with a stock pot on medium heat, make the Bechamel sauce, add broth, broccoli and thyme together and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes until the broccoli is tender. Take the soup off the heat and add your cream, shredded cheeses and salt and pepper and blend well.
(Bonus: When you finish the Bechamel sauce, take it off the stove, add shredded cheddar and hot, cooked macaroni noodles, and voila, mac and cheese!!)
This soup is a wonderful cold weather recipe. Unfortunately in Georgia right now you can't plan ahead with the weather, but it's good any other time, too! Hope you enjoy it!
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