Before we tried this I didn’t think there was anywhere to go with broccoli cheddar soup. All the versions I have had tasted basically the same. Not this one. This was definitely a cut above. The croutons and the soup smelled so delicious while they were cooking that I couldn’t stop sampling and I was fending off children with a wooden spoon. It may not be too much to say that I had made a french silk pie for dessert and this was better.
The recipe was entered by Sarah in the United States and its source is the website 101 Cookbooks, the recipe journal of author Heidi Swanson.
Two things to mention: I think a light, good-quality vegetable stock is really important in this recipe. Also, use a good loaf of bread and a good, aged cheddar (you don’t need loads of it) and do not substitute for the whole-grain mustard. I used New York cheddar aged 18 months, whole-grain dijon, and a crusty loaf of multi-grain artisan bread all from Trader Joe’s–these were key players for flavor.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Homemade Croutons
about 3 cups of small pieces of good whole wheat bread (I cut small squares with a bread knife)
1/4 c / 60 g of melted butter or olive oil
1 1/2 T / 20 g whole-grain mustard
1/4 t / big pinch of sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350 F / 175 C. Put bread bits in a large bowl. Melt the butter, whisk in mustard and salt, and pour over bread, tossing to coat. Turn onto a baking sheet and bake about 15 minutes or until golden and crunchy, stirring about a few times. (Mine took 20 minutes).
2 T / 30 g olive oil
1 shallot, chopped (I substituted a sweet onion, as I was out of shallots)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 1/2 c / 800 g light, good-tasting vegetable stock
1 large head broccoli, cut into small florets
2/3 c / 160 g grated aged cheddar, plus more for serving
1-3 t / 5-15 g whole-grain mustard (amount to taste, I used 3 t)
Heat the oil in a large saucepan (I used a Dutch oven) over medium-high heat. Stir in shallot, onion, and a big pinch of salt and saute for a few minutes. Stir in the potatoes and cook, covered, for about five minutes. Uncover and stir in the garlic, saute one minute. Add in the vegetable stock and boil until potato is tender. Stir in broccoli and cook about 4 minutes, or until tender.
Remove from heat and blend the soup (immersion blender is easiest, I used a small stand-up blender and did it in two batches). Sprinkle the cheese in slowly and add in the mustard slowly to taste.
Serve hot with the crunchy, savory croutons and a sprinkle of cheddar.
Extraordinarily delicious. It’s best the first day, so eat it all up. (This won’t be a problem.)