Sunday, February 10, 2013

Mrs. Clements' Broccoli-Cheese Soup

A long time ago, I went back to work after staying home with the kids for many years.  It was a luxury to be able to do so, one for which I will always be grateful.  At the time, Nathan was old enough to be a latch-key kid (in theory) after school, but Allison was too young. I was really stressed to find the right situation.  She was still in elementary school, and I didn't want an abrupt lifestyle change for her.

Eureka! Uber-mom Mrs. Clements! Nancy and I had become friends through the school circuit; field trips, PTA, grademothers.  She has three fabulous children, a warm and inviting home, and a kind, funny husband.  Thankfully, Mrs. Clements agreed to have Allison over in the afternoons until I got home from work.  Allison had a great time, even learning to ride a 2-wheel bike while in their care.

One day when I arrived to pick up, Nancy was making the excellent Broccoli-Cheese soup.  That was the late 90s, and both of us have been making it ever since. As warning, do not attempt to make this low fat, make a smaller batch, or use anything other than steamed fresh broccoli florets.  If you do one of these things, let me know so that I can say, "I told you so!".

Mrs. Clements' Broccoli-Cheese Soup
2-3 heads broccoli
1 onion, diced           
1/2 stick butter          
1/4 cup flour              
4 cups chicken stock
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 can Cream of Chicken
1 quart Half and Half    
8 oz Velveeta, cubed
1 cup shredded cheddar

Steam broccoli florets ( I use 2 bags of the pre-cut florets) and drain.  I chop some, leave others as florets.

Meanwhile, sweat onion in butter; when slightly softened, add in flour to form a roux.  Cook for 1-2 minutes to lose the raw flour flavor. Slowly pour in chicken stock, stirring constantly.  Add bouillon cubes and heat to near boiling and slightly thickened.  Add Cream of Chicken soup until incorporated, then pour in half and half.  Bring back up to medium heat, and add cheeses, simmering slowly until melted (stirring very often).  Add broccoli and enjoy!

*I think this would also be good with chicken (it could then be called Chicken Divan Soup), but I'm a purist and am leaving well enough alone.