Seriously, could I love America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Illustrated any more than I already do? Their recipes are always amazing and spot-on, and this one is no exception. When I saw this recipe in the newest Cook’s Illustrated magazine I knew I needed to make it ASAP. I love how the article states that Broccoli-Cheese soups usually hide the star of the soup, broccoli, by basically being a cream of cheese soup with broccoli instead of making broccoli the star of the dish. This recipe definitely makes broccoli the star of the dish and uses no cream or milk in the soup, and the cheese is used to enhance the broccoli instead of mask it. This is not yo’ momma’s broccoli-cheese soup!
I love how bright and vibrant this soup is. Wouldn’t it be the perfect soup for St. Patrick’s Day?!?
2 T unsalted butter
2 pounds frozen broccoli florets
1 medium onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 1/2 t dry mustard powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
3-4 C water
1/4 t baking soda
2 C low-sodium chicken broth
2 ounces baby spinach
3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (3/4 cup)
1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated fine, plus extra for serving
Heat butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add broccoli, onion, garlic, dry mustard, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 8 minutes. Add 1 cup of water and baking soda. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until broccoli is very soft, about 20 minutes, stirring once during cooking.
Add broth and 2 cups of water and increase heat to medium-high. When mixture begins to simmer, stir in spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Transfer half of soup to blender, add cheddar and Parmesan, and process until smooth, about 1 minute. (Be sure to hold the lid on tight when blending warm liquids!)Transfer soup to a medium bowl and repeat with remaining soup. Return soup to the Dutch oven, and place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Adjust consistency of the soup with up to 1 cup of water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve right away. Top with croutons and cheddar or parmesan cheese if you’d like.
If you’re serving this soup as your main dish with a salad, it will serve 4 hungry adults.
Source: From Cook’s Illustrated