Creamy comfort can be found in soup

Robin McDaniel
This lighter version of Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup gets a special touch when served in a bread bowl.

This lighter version of Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup gets a special touch when served in a bread bowl.

One cold weather soup that I like to make is Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup. I decided to give a nod to all of us who are trying to cut calories by adjusting this recipe to make a lighter version.

Of course, I added back in the calories because I love serving soup in bread bowls! I do, however, check the nutrition information on the breads I choose because you can find some with lower fat and carbohydrate contents, at least relatively speaking!

For dinner, I served this soup in a Sourdough bread bowl, which is one of the “good” breads.

Here is a tip: When shopping for broccoli, be sure to select tight, deep-colored florets because they have the best flavor. This recipe serves four.

Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 small sweet onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons flour

2 cans (14-1/2 ounce size) reduced-sodium chicken

or vegetable broth

4 cups fresh broccoli florets

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper to season

1 1/2 to 2 cups 1 percent milk or Half-and-Half

1 1/4 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, divided

4 (7 inch) bread bowls, round loaves

Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook until lightly golden, 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually whisk in the milk. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves and season with the salt and pepper.

Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered until thickened, about 20 minutes. Add the broccoli to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth. You will still have flecks of the broccoli.

Return to the pot, and heat through, then reduce heat and add 1 cup of the cheese. Stir just until melted. (If needed, add up to 1 cup of water if soup is too thick). Ladle into prepared bread bowls and garnish with remaining cheese.

To prepare bread bowls: Using a sharp knife, cut a circle into the top of each round loaf, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Remove the bread top, then hollow out the middle with a fork or your fingers, leaving a thick bread shell.

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