Four Cheese Broccoli Soup
Thick and creamy, this hearty broccoli soup satisfies with the robust, savory flavor of sharp cheddar, the sweetness of colby, the buttery sapor of jack, and the velvety smooth texture of Velveeta.
- large cutting board
- sharp knife
- 4-quart stock pot with lid
- large, long-handled spoon
- 3 tablespoons butter, salted
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups half and half
- 16 oz Kraft Velveeta, cubed
- 8 oz (2 cups) sharp cheddar, shredded
- 4 oz (1 cup) jack (such as Monterey or Sonoma), shredded
- 4 oz (1 cup) colby, shredded
- 1 lb fresh broccoli crowns
- Note: You can substitute an 8 oz (2 cup) package of combination shredded “Colby Jack” in place of the 4 oz (1 cup) shredded jack and 4 oz (1 cup) shredded colby. Likewise, you can shred an 8 oz (2 cup) marbled colby jack block. Do not substitute pepper jack.
- Using knife, shave off green florets (flowering top parts) of broccoli over cutting board. Discard stalks and stems. Finely chop broccoli florets on cutting board. Set aside.
- Over medium-low heat, melt butter in 4-quart stock pot.
- Add chopped onion and sauté until translucent (semitransparent, somewhat clear).
- Add flour and whisk until it forms a paste.
- Slowly (a little at a time) whisk in chicken broth and half and half.
- Turn heat up to medium-high and add cheeses. Whisk until they are completely melted and no longer accumulate in center of whisk.
- Using large, long-handled spoon, stir in broccoli.
- Bring to a frothy boil. Due to the thickness and cheesiness of the soup, the boil will not appear as rolling bubbles but rather as frothy little bubbles on the surface.
- Once frothy boil is achieved, reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 15 minutes.
Making The RecipeClick thumbnail to view full-size
About The Ingredients . . .
Butter is a rich, smooth, creamy, sweet, sometimes salted, solid, yellow dairy product made from cream. It is made by first separating cream from milk. The cream is then churned via vigorous beating and shaking until it thickens. The liquid that separates out, called buttermilk, is drained off, and the remaining clusters of butter are mixed, blended, and shaped. In the United States, butter is shaped into four-ounce sticks and sold in one-pound cartons (i.e. four sticks to a pound). The sticks come wrapped in waxed or foiled paper.
Butter is the most common type of fat used for making rouxs. A roux (pronounced “roo”) is a mixture of equal amounts of fat and flour. It is incorporated into sauces, gravies, soups, stews, etc., in order to thicken them.
All-purpose flour is a flavorless, fine-textured, powdery substance made from a blend of hard (11% to 18% protein) and soft (8% to 11% protein) wheat grain that has been ground or pulverized. Specifically, it is made from the inner part of the wheat kernel called the endosperm. The bran (hard outer layer of the kernel) and the germ (the sprouting part of the kernel) are not included. Sometimes referred to as “plain” flour, it does not contain a leavening (rising) agent. When additional nutrient amounts of riboflavin, thiamin, folic acid, and iron have been supplemented, it is labeled “enriched”. It is labeled “bleached” when a bleaching food additive has been included which creates a clean white appearance; otherwise it has a yellowish tint. Due to its balance of protein and starches, all-purpose flour is considered neither too heavy nor too delicate.
An onion (Allium cepa) is a pungent, savory, earthy, sometimes sweet, edible vegetable bulb that is a member of a family that also includes garlic and chives. Although there are at least 33 varieties of onions, the four most common types are yellow, red, white, and sweet. 1) Yellow are full-flavored , astringent (having a biting or bitter quality), assertive when raw, deeply sweet when cooked. 2) Red are spicy but relatively mild. 3) White are more pungent and more biting than yellow. 4) Sweet, to include Vidalia and Walla Walla onions, are crisp, super-sweet, and not biting or astringent.
Chicken broth is a yellowish-clear liquid made from scraps of chicken meat that have been simmered in water for a long period of time to extract flavors and nutrients. Chickens are domesticated fowl (poultry) raised for their meat. The meat has a rather pale birdy sapor to it. Some common ingredients used to season the broth are salt, sea salt, onion, celery, and carrot. It can be purchased in regular, low-sodium (low-salt), or low-fat varieties.
Half and Half
Half and half is a rich, dairy smooth, white to pale yellow liquid made from equal parts whole cow’s milk and cow’s cream. The milk is obtained from the mammary glands of female cows. The cream is the butterfat that rises to the top of milk before it has been homogenized. It is skimmed off for use.
Half and half is valuable in cooking when you need something heavier than milk but not as heavy as cream. The butterfat content of half and half is approximately 10% to 12.5%. (Milk has a butterfat content of about 3.25%, and cream has a butterfat content of about 18% to 36%.)
Velveeta is the brand name of a bright yellow-orange, soft, mellow, velvety cheese product produced by Kraft Foods. It is made by reincorporating the curds (the solid parts of curdled milk) and whey. Whey is a liquid co-product that is normally separated out during the cheese making process. Velveeta is considered to be a type of and have the palatableness of American processed cheese. When melted, it maintains a yummy smooth consistency. It comes packaged in rectangular blocks or loaves and is often found on the store aisle shelf but must be refrigerated after opening.
Sharp cheddar is a pale yellow to yellow-orange colored, tangy, complex, sometimes beefy or nutty, pungent, earthy, melt-in-your-mouth, aged cheese. It is made from milk which has been first cultured with bacteria to acidify the milk, then formed into solid curds by the addition of rennet (an enzyme that curdles) and warmed to 100-degrees F. Following that, the curds undergo the cheddaring technique whereby they are shaped into big slabs, pressed, and passed through a mill to form small curds. They are then fashioned and cut into blocks or placed into molds and allowed to age.
The term “sharp” refers to how the texture and flavor changes as it ages. During the aging time period, it gets firmer, drier, more crumbly, and the flavor becomes more concentrated. There are three distinctions of sharp: 1) Regular - which is aged for 12 months; 2) Extra - which is aged for 18 months; and 3) Premium - which is aged from two to five years. The longer it ages, the more robust it becomes.
Jack is a pale yellow, buttery, mild, slightly tart, creamy, compact, smooth, semihard cheese. It is also referred to as “Monterey” or “Sonoma” jack; the names being attributed to the counties in California, USA, in which they originated. Bacteria is added to milk, then rennet added to curdle, and the whey drained off. Next, jack is washed with a brine (salty) solution which gives it its mildness. It is placed in molds, pressed, and allowed to age. Jack has a relatively short aging period of only a few weeks to a month.
Colby is a creamy-yellow to orange colored, soft, moist, mild, slightly sweet, slightly salty, semihard cheese. Similar to jack, it undergoes a curd-washing action which reduces acidity making it more springy and elastic and resulting in its characteristically gentle, mild, less tangy sapor. Sometimes referred to as longhorn colby, this speaks to the cylindrical shape it comes in and does not pertain to the flavor. Colby does not go through an aging process. It needs to be consumed shortly after purchasing as it dries out quickly.
Broccoli (Brassica oleracea) is a green to purplish, flowering, cruciferous vegetable that is a member of the cabbage family. It is perceived by some individuals to be bitter in taste (depending on their taste buds) and to others it is not. It has a tree-like structure with a thick, fibrous, crunchy stalk and a large flowering head with bunches of soft, deep sage to dark green to green-purple flower buds.