Soup’s On Sundays / Broccoli & Cheese Chowder with Red Pepper and Bacon

I had no idea it would be so difficult to find a good broccoli and cheese soup recipe. Considering it’s the best seller at a bazillion restaurants, I was surprised to see so many online with low ratings, sans pictures and generally boring descriptions. That being said, I’m happy to report that yesterday’s concoction was very successful. The red pepper and bacon added color, flair and finesse to an already exceptional soup developing into an aesthetically beautiful dish full of smoked cheddar and broccoli flavor that walked a fine line between thick and voluptuous and perfectly satisfied the itch for savory comfort food. 

Ingredients
Bacon
2 bunches of Broccoli
2 large Potatoes, skinned and chopped into 1 in. cubes
2 Red Peppers, chopped
1.5 large Onion, chopped
2 large Garlic Cloves, minced
1 tbsp Unsalted Butter
2 tsp Cumin
2 tsp Salt
1.5 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Dry Mustard
4 tbsp All-Purpose Flour
1 3/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
16 oz sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6-8 people

Kitchen Utensils
Large Soup Pot
Cutting Board
Knife
Medium Pot
Large Slotted Spoon
Large Mixing Bowl of Ice Water
Plate with Paper Towel
Wooden Spoon
Peeler

Let’s get started by heating the soup pot on Med-High heat and adding about 1/2 the package of bacon. You’ll want to crisp up the bacon really well here, so leave that be for a bit. Hopefully you’ve prepped all your veggies by this time, but preparing the broccoli is a little more intricate, so let’s do that now.

Start the second pot with about ~4 cups of water on High heat to hit boiling point. Chop the hard ends of the stems off and discard, leaving about 2 inches of stem and florets remaining. Cut the florets into about 1-inch pieces and add them to the pot of water when boiling. Chop the remaining stems of the broccoli and set aside. Boil broccoli florets for about 2-3 minutes, or until just tender. With the slotted spoon, remove them from the water and transfer to the large mixing bowl full of ice water. Keep the water you boiled the broccoli in to the side and let the florets soak.

Looking back to the bacon, is it crisp yet? Remove from the pot and transfer to the plate with the paper towel to soak up the extra grease. Reduce soup pot heat to medium and add the broccoli stems, garlic, onion, potato, red pepper and butter to the bacon grease that has accumulated in the bottom of the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened.

Next, add cumin, salt, pepper and mustard. Mix in well and cook for an additional two minutes. Add flour and cook for another three minutes while stirring. Add the reserved broccoli water and lower the heat to medium-low, partially cover the pot. Stirring occasionally, cook until the potatoes are tender – about 10-12 minutes. Stir in cream and cheese and stir frequently, cooking until cheese has melted. Chop up the bacon into small pieces and mix into the soup.

Now comes one of the best parts. Time to taste! How’s it coming? Season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Finally, add the florets (sans water) and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Serve with your favorite sourdough bread or baguette.

Yum. Cheesy.

Delicious red pepper, bacon, broccoli and cheese chowder.

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~ by wintersm on August 28, 2012.

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