Saturday, April 21, 2012

3Cheese Broccoli and White Bean Soup

Here in Atlanta, my homebase, our weather has turned from beautiful and balmy to gray and de-press-ing. To compensate, I decided to make up a pot of soup to occupy my indoor time. I always have a ton off broccoli stems in the freezer. We eat broccoli florets all the time, and, waste not want not, we keep the stems. For a...wait for it...rainy day!

3Cheese Broccoli and White Bean Soup

1 can Great Northern Beans, or your white bean of choice
3 Bay Leaves
2 Tbs salt
3 cloves Garlic, halved
5-6 Broccoli stems
1/2 Onion, diced
2-3 Carrots, shredded
2 Tbs Flour
2 Tbs Olive Oil
2 cups Milk
1 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded
1 cup Sharp White Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 8 oz. package Cream Cheese, diced
1 Tbs cracked Black Pepper
1 Tbs Granulated Garlic
1 Tbs Red Pepper Flakes
Add'l Salt and Pepper, to taste
Steamed Broccoli Florets

First, cook the canned beans, in their liquid. to DEATH. You want them to be very, very soft. About halfway through, add in the broccoli stems and garlic cloves. You don't want to cook them to death, but maybe to a very light coma. They need to be tender, but not mush. Do not salt during this process, the beans will be tough! Remove the broccoli and either mash or use an immersion blender to coursely puree the beans. Chop the broccoli into a medium dice and add back to the beans. Now salt! In a large pot, sweat the onions and carrots until they are very soft and the onions are translucent. Add in the olive oil and flour. This is where you "coat" the veggies. Stir the mix until the flour is evenly distributed and becomes golden yellow in color. This is flavoring the flour...very important! Now, it is time to "wash the veggies." Add in the milk and stir thoroughly to remove the flour coating. You do not want little vegetable filled dumplings in your soup. Although not a bad concept... When the milk starts to bubble (while you are stirring often,) add in the three cheeses and seasonings. When all is heated through, ladle over the steamed broccoli florets. This prevents them from getting over cooked! Serve with a piece of bread and perhaps a garlic finishing oil? Delish.

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