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Broccoli, Red Pepper, and Cheddar Chowder

November 19, 2012

Other than making a couple side dishes for the annual Friends’ Thanksgiving party we attended on Saturday, I’ve been feeling pretty lazy in the kitchen for the past couple of weeks. Not sure why, I just haven’t been in the mood to make anything too involved. Unfortunately, no cooking = no leftovers, and I’m getting kind of tired of eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. :)

We received a small head of broccoli in our CSA bag last weekend, and I had exactly one potato left over from making the roast chicken, so this recipe (from the Gourmet cookbook) was perfect! It’s a pretty quick recipe – takes about 40 minutes from start to finish. As usual, make sure you start the water boiling before you do any other steps and it’ll save you a bunch of time.

I didn’t have any heavy cream on hand, so I used some half-and-half combined with milk and it still turned out really creamy. An easy and delicious recipe to help get me out of my cooking rut!

Broccoli and cheddar soup

Serves 4 (makes about 6 cups)

Ingredients

  • 1  small bunch broccoli (½ pound)
  • 1  large boiling potato (½ pound)
  • 2  tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1  large onion, chopped
  • 1  red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1  large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1  teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2  teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1  teaspoon salt
  • 1/4   teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4  cup heavy cream
  • 1½  cups coarsely grated sharp Cheddar (about 6 ounces)

Directions

  1. Cut off broccoli stems and discard tough lower third of stems. Peel stems and finely chop. Cut remaining broccoli into 1-inch florets.
  2. Cook florets in a large pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for every 4 quarts of water) until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop the cooking, then drain. Reserve 3 cups cooking water.
  3. Peel potato and cut into ½-inch cubes. Melt butter in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Add potato, onion, bell pepper, broccoli stems, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add cumin, mustard, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add reserved cooking water, stirring, partially cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add cream, then add cheese and cook, stirring, until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Purée about 2 cups chowder in a blender until smooth (use caution since it will be very hot) and return to pot. Add broccoli florets and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes.

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