Broccoli Red Pepper and Cheddar Chowder

A few weeks ago, for some inexplicable reason I went on a serious broccoli bender. For about 2 weeks, I must have incorporated broccoli in some way, shape, or form into just about everything that I made. From stir fries with parboiled broccoli, to roasted broccoli sides, to fresh raw broccoli served with a bit of sour cream, I pretty much explored every facet that broccoli had to offer.

Among one of the more delicious sides of broccoli that I experienced while on this voyage of broccoli discovery was this chowder recipe that I found while searching for inspiration on how to use up my last crown of broccoli. As most of you already know by now, I’m a sucker, er fan, of soups…particularly when it’s bitterly cold outside. This chowder was yet another perfect way to for my soup pots to work hard for their money and earn their keep.

So most broccoli soups that I’ve had in the past are usually pretty thick due to the oodles of cheese that’s added to the broth. Whether that’s an attempt to thicken the soup or boost the flavor and take emphasis off of the broccoli, I’m not sure, but I will say that it’s usually the main reason why I steer away from broccoli soups. Too much cheese I feel overwhelms the broccoli and at that point, why bother call it broccoli soup? Just call it cheese soup and be done with it.

But, you say, doesn’t this recipe have cheese in it? Why, yes, yes it does, but what I like about this recipe is that you also add in some potatoes which gives the soup some nice body and texture without all that bad for you cheese. Add in some red peppers for some color and sweetness, and you have yourself a pretty stunning soup. It’s amazing what teamwork vegetables can do for one another isn’t it?

I took the liberty of tweaking this recipe and instead of boiling all of my florets, I roasted them in the oven to bring out some extra flavor (that and I just love love loveeee roasted broccoli). This chowder comes out with just enough broccoli flavor to say, “Hey, this here’s a BROCCOLI chowder. The cheese here is my sidekick, capice?”

Broccoli Red Pepper and Cheddar Chowder
Adapted from Gourmet | December 2001

Ingredients

1 small head broccoli (1/2 pound)
1 large boiling potato (1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
6 oz sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (1 1/2 cups)
Olive oil

3 cups vegetable or chicken stock

Preparation

Discard tough lower part of broccoli stem. Peel remaining stem and finely chop, set aside. Preheat broiler of your oven. Cut remaining crown of broccoli into small florets. Toss florets in a large bowl with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and broil until slightly charred, about 5-7 minutes.

In a large 4 quart soup pot, melt butter over moderate heat. Add in potato, onion, bell pepper, broccoli stems and garlic and cook until onion is softened, about8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cumin, salt, pepper, and mustard and continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add flour and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add in stock and bring to a boil, and then lower heat to a simmer. Simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add in cream, milk, and cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Using a hand blender, puree the chowder in the pot until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids!). Add in roasted florets and cook over moderate heat until heated through, stirring, about 2 minutes.

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~ by tastydesu on February 28, 2011.

One Response to “Broccoli Red Pepper and Cheddar Chowder”

  1. This soup looks dreamy! What a great thing for a cold snowy day.

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