Broccoli, Red Pepper, and Cheddar Chowder

So far, I make this recipe exactly as I found it at Epicurious, but I’ll update here if I come up with any significant changes.  For me, it just tastes exactly like Broccoli Cheddar soup should, but made with decent ingredients I have in my home.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head broccoli (½ pound)
  • 1 large boiling potato (½ pound)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 6 oz sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (1½ cups)

Preparation:

  1. Discard tough lower third of broccoli stem. Peel remaining stem and finely chop. Cut remaining broccoli into very small (1-inch) florets. Cook florets in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking, then drain. Reserve 3 cups cooking water for chowder.
  2. Peel potato and cut into ½-inch cubes. Cook potato, onion, bell pepper, broccoli stems, and garlic in butter in a 3- to 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add cumin, salt, pepper, and mustard and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add reserved cooking water and simmer (partially covered), stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in cream and cheese and cook, stirring, until cheese is melted, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Purée about 2 cups of chowder in a food processor or blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids) and return to pot. Add florets and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes.

The Verdict:

Delightful.  Hubby said that it was good broccoli cheddar soup, we didn’t have a lump of cheese in the bottom of the pot (like we found in some recipes I could mention), and it was everything I like in a winter soup: filling, thick, and full of fattening things like butter and cheese and cream!  For the dairy, I used an Australian cheese that I found at the local discount grocery store (where I was looking for inexpensive, interesting Christmas presents).  It was a lovely meal, and I’m adding it to our list of recipes to repeat.  Shockingly, I didn’t change a thing from the recipe as written.  I may try to add a bit of spice next time, but I thoroughly enjoyed it this way.

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