Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Broccoli Leek Soup with Broiled cheddar


I never thought of myself as a soup person. I found most soups to be monotonous or overly salted or laden with heavy cream or worst yet, to be bland when actually vegetarian (that is, without chicken broth). I don't know whether it was the incredibly flavorful veggies in my CSA through FFTY or my unpredictable, semi-chaotic work schedule, but somehow I was transformed into a soup person sometime last year. Now I crave flavorful vegetable soups and, as shocking as it may sound, love the idea of a one pot meal that easily reheats the next day.

This broccoli soup is delicately flavored with leeks and garlic. The soup is topped with cheddar cheese and placed under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly at the edges. I am convinced that it is perfect for the transition between the end of winter and start of spring, when your palette is so over hearty stews and soups and roasted root vegetables and pleads for the lighter flavors of spring while still craving the comfort of warmth on a chilly night.

For the soup, I used a medium sized head of broccoli from FFTY and used both the stalks and florets. Simply use a vegetable peeler to peel the tougher stalks and just be sure to dice up the stalks into relatively even sized pieces so that everything cooks evenly.

I used 2 FFTY leeks, but you could easily use a thinly sliced medium onion instead.  I didn't add any heavy cream or half and half to the soup nor did I add potatoes, and yet surprisingly the soup was creamy and silky.

I pureed the soup with a hand held immersion blender. Once I was ready to serve the soup, I reheated it to a gentle boil and ladled it into oven proof soup or gratin bowls.

Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese on top and toss the dish under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese melts and forms a bubbly edge around the soup. The broiled cheddar is what transforms this soup from a low fat, healthy broccoli soup to a oh-my-goodness-i-can't-stop-eating-this broccoli soup.

Broccoli Leek Soup with Broiled cheddar
1 medium head of broccoli (about 1.5 lbs)
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
4 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth + 1 cup water
1.5 tsp sea salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Separate broccoli stems from florets. Using a vegetable peeler, peel stems to remove tough outer layer, then slice into 1/4-inch-thick "coins." Break or cut the florets into small pieces. Reserve stems and florets separately

Wash broccoli and take care to scrub the stalks. Carefully cut the florets away from the stalks, cut florets into medium sized pieces, and set florets aside. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the stalks to remove the tough outer later. Slice the stalks into 1/2" pieces, keep separate from florets.

In a dutch oven, melt 1 tbsp butter in 1 tbsp olive oil. Add leeks and cook, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and 1 tbsp water and cover and let stew for 2 to 3 minutes. Add broccoli stalks and 4 cups of vegetable broth, sea salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until broccoli stalks are tender about 10-12 minutes. Add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil.

Add broccoli florets and bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat source. Puree with an immersion blender. Or let cool, and puree in batches in a blender or food processor. If making in advance, at this point the soup can be stored in the refrigerator.

Preheat broiler.

Bring soup to a simmer, taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. The flavors should pop, so add salt until the broccoli flavor becomes pronounced.

Ladle into oven proof bowls and sprinkle each bowl with 1/4 to 1/3 cup of cheddar cheese. Place under the broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly around the edges, about 4 to 5 minutes. Let sit for 1 to 2 minutes before serving.


  1. Oh yes please! This looks so good. I have always been a soup girl, so I know this would elevate me to soup heaven! Thank you for sharing. Will be making ASAP.

  2. I love your little soup bowls! They are adorable.


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