It’s just a few days before Christmas, and this year, I am not at home. I am lucky because I get to spend the holiday with my daughter and her family in Oklahoma (go Sooners!) But, I do have to admit that it is a little strange not to be preparing for Christmas at my home. I didn’t even get out any of my Christmas decorations from the attic before I left. I did put up a “bookmas” tree, and some of my nutcrackers are displayed year round.
Each year I get everything ready in anticipation of all the kids coming home to eat chicken noodle soup, clam chowder, and broccoli-cheese soup, sing songs around the Christmas tree, play games, have an eggnog toast, eat too much sticky toffee pudding cake, and for the grandkids to put on a fashion show in their new Christmas pajamas (each year they get pajamas and a book from grandma. Last year I made them all pajama pants and some of them were sporting the tie-dyed look).
This year will be — has been— a little different. Last night in a variation of my normal routine and a couple of days early I made Clam Chowder especially for my daughter, Melanie, but I didn’t do the other two soups I normally make for the whole crew, which was kind of strange. But today, in the spirit of my normal tradition, I thought I would at least share my broccoli-cheese soup recipe. And yes, it’s another one I made up.
1 head of broccoli – the florets and top third of the stalk chopped into small pieces
1 onion – chopped
3-4 stalks (ribs) of celery, chopped
3-4 potatoes peeled and cubed (optional)
1 cube butter
milk or half-n-half
4-8 oz mild cheddar cheese cubed
Salt and Pepper
Sautee onions and celery in butter, set aside; start broccoli (and potatoes if you are adding them) cooking in a pot of salted (about a teaspoon of salt) boiling water (or chicken broth if you wish, no need to add salt if you use the broth). Simmer until almost tender. Remove from stove top, drain.
Melt butter in bottom of pan over medium heat. When butter is melted, add flour about 1/3 c. all at once and use a wire whisk to mix until smooth (flour will thicken) slowly add a little bit of milk, whisking the whole time. Let sauce thicken, add more milk. Continue this process until you’ve added about two cups of milk. Reduce heat to low simmer. Add vegetables to white sauce, add cheese and stir until melted. Add additional milk to cover vegetables. (If soup is too thin, whisk an additional 1/4 cup of flour into 1/2 c of milk, and add to hot soup. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with corn bread, crackers, toast, or muffins.