Winter is here! Much warmer a winter then I had anticipated, but that won’t stop me releasing a great cold weather recipe like the classic Broccoli & Cheese soup. This recipe is near and dear to my heart as it brings me back to my days of strolling down the paths of my favorite place to experience Southern California with my family, Disneyland. Outside if the crashing waves of my beloved Southern California shore, Disneyland is what I think of most when people ask me about my time spent growing up there. On a side note, I’d also consider retiring there and working with the Disneyland Fire Department, which I came to find out, is comprised of mostly retired Southern California Firefighters. What a job!
More specifically with this recipe, Broccoli & Cheese soup was a staple that my family and I would look forward to when visiting the Disneyland California Adventure Park. Inside the park was a recreation of Fisherman’s Wharf located in San Francisco the way only Disney can do including the great bakery and soup restaurant, The Pacific Warf Café. The warm and comforting soup in a bread bowl was a fantastic way to dust off the chill of the night and sit back and enjoy the great atmosphere. Sharing this recipe with you is my hope to recreate the same sense of warmth and comfort when spending time with your family or crew. Indulge!
Some after the fire critiques: Before you ask… Yes, most broccoli and cheese soups contain milk, half & half or heavy cream, but I’m trying to keep the soup light and with a Latin flair. Same thing with the sliding scale on the amount of cheese, add to taste. But when at home and not operating heavy machinery, substitute a cup of the chicken stock with a nice beer or dairy (milk, half & half or heavy cream). I recommend something with some dark, bold flavors like an IPA or stout.
Broccoli (roughly 3 cups as follows:)
· Florets (2 cups, chopped)
· Stems (1 cups, peeled and chopped)
White Cheddar Cheese (2-4 cups shredded)
Canadian Bacon (1 cup, chopped)
Poblaño (charred, peeled, de-seeded and chopped)
Onion (one medium and chopped)
Potato (1 cup chopped)
Garlic (2-3 cloves chopped)
Chicken Stock (4 cups)
Cumin Seed (1 tsp. toasted and ground)
Butter (2 Tbs. cubed)
Flour (3 Tbs.)
Pepper and Salt to taste
Place the poblaño over direct flame on the stovetop. Char on all sides then loosely wrap in aluminum foil and allow steaming for 10 minutes. Place the poblaño under running water and peel the skin, split open the poblaño and remove the seeds (and veins if you don’t want it to be too spicy) then chop into bite size pieces. Meanwhile, toast the cumin seeds in a small sauté pan over medium heat and toast until slightly browned and their aroma is strong. Remove from heat and grind until a fine powder.
Place the Dutch Oven over medium-high heat. Place the Canadian bacon in and brown for about 5-8 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined bowl. Put onion in and cook for 5-8 minutes or until translucent. Add Garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Make a small well in the middle of the sautéed vegetables then add butter. Melt butter then add the flour then mix until incorporated and cook for an additional 3 minutes (to remove the flour taste). Pour in the chicken stock and deglaze the bottom (use the spatula to scrap the bottom to remove the goodness). Add the potato, broccoli stems, poblaño and cumin, and stir to combine. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add the broccoli florets, Canadian bacon and cheddar cheese then mix to combine (and melt cheese). Pepper and salt to taste. Enjoy.