Slow Cooker Soup: Broccoli Cheddar Soup:






I consider Broccoli Cheddar Soup comfort food gone healthy (sorta). There is always soup in the refrigerator at my house and this soup is a frequent visitor!

Very rich and chocked full of good for you veggies.
The secret to great slow cooker soup is a little extra prep work (oh, oops... is that a bad word in crockpotville?). One could throw all the ingredients in the slow cooker and forget it OR give the soup a little attention and get soup that tastes like you fussed all day! Come on, what are you waiting for? Just do it,  it's worth the effort!



I made this soup as a birthday gift for my dear friend Donna. (Remember, food = love)Recently widowed and with children who are young adults, she has had a rough and stressful year. So I wanted to do something that would impact her life in a tangible way.
I n a pretty insulated lunch bag, I tucked a homemade certificate for membership in “The Soup Of The Month Club”.Every month for 1 year, I will make her a large pot of soup. I make enough so she can eat some and freeze a lot more. This month's soup was Broccoli Cheddar.


Recipe:

6 cups fresh broccoli

1 large onion, chopped

1 large garlic clove, pressed or finely chopped

1 cup shredded carrots

4 cups chicken stock

¼ cup flour

2 cups whole milk ( or half and half, or a combo of both)

4 cups very sharp cheddar cheese,  1/2 cup reserved

Pancetta, 6-8 thin slices ( can also use bacon)


Wash and trim broccoli. Do not use tough ends. Rough cut and put in slow cooker.



In a large frying pan, heat cooking oil and add onions. Cook onions on medium low heat until soft. Add a healthy pinch of salt. Add shredded carrots and continue to cook for 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 additional minute. Add to slow cooker.









Add chicken stock, pepper, and only if using low sodium stock, 1/2 tsp salt. Cook on low for 3-4 hours.



Remove 2 cups of cooked vegetables (mostly broccoli) and chop into small pieces, reserve.




In a bowl, mix flour and milk with a whisk. (I use a large jar with a lid and shake) Add to slow cooker. Grate a little nutmeg (1/8 tsp) and add. Cook on high for 30-45 minutes until thickend. Replace lid and keep closed.



Add cheddar cheese and continue to cook until melted. Replace lid and keep closed.

Using emulsifying blender, blend soup until smooth. You can also use a standard blender and blend in batches. This will make the soup thicker and creamy. Add reserved chopped broccoli and stir.

Shred pancetta and cook in a frying pan until crisp.



To Serve:

Ladle soup into bowls and top with additional cheddar cheese and pancetta. Serve with garlic bread or any crusty bread.









Options:

*Add cooked diced chicken when adding cheese.
* Add sweet or spicy cooked italian sausage.
* Add hot cooked rice to the bowl just before spooning in the soup.
*Top with croutons instead of pancetta.

Donna was so happy when I gave her this soup. I’m not sure what she likes more, the soup or being surprised by what kind of soup I'll make for her!

So far I have made Roasted Corn Chowder, French Onion and now Broccoli Cheddar. November’s soup will be Pumpkin Squash and Carrot….but…..shhhhhh don’t tell her- it’s a SURPRISE!


I am joining Debbie @ Dining with Debbie for Crock Pot Wednesday... the recipes look great!
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I am participating in Foodie Friday over at Designs By Gollum- Don't miss all the wonderful recipies and people!












 
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