Broccoli Cheese Soup - Scottish Style

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My dear, late mother-in-law would occasionally make me roar with her droll humor. One of my favorites was her comment about extreme thriftiness: “A Scotsman found a cough drop, so he sat in a draft.”

Apologies if you are Scottish. I am not, but the comparison suits me, especially in the kitchen. I will build an entire meal around a forgotten, soon-to-be-expired item in the back of the fridge, and end up buying $50 worth of groceries, or otherwise inconveniencing myself, just to not have to throw that thing away.

The latest was milk and half-and-half we had for guests. I use almond milk or yogurt, and we drink our coffee black, so they were going to waste unless I thought of something.

We had a couple stalks of broccoli and a block of cheddar, so this one was easy. I love a good broccoli cheese soup, and this time I didn’t have to buy a thing. The best part is how fast this recipe is: you can make it from start to finish in the time it takes to get dressed, fire up the car, and head to your nearest restaurant just to order the same thing.

Without further adieu, Broccoli-Cheese Soup, Scottish Style:

6 TBS butter

1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup + 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour

3 1/4 cups whole or 2% milk

2 cups vegetable broth (I use “Better than Bouillon”)

1/2 cup half and half

3-4 cups small broccoli florets*

8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I like Tillamook)

fresh ground black pepper (I found the recipe did not need salt)

1. Melt butter in saucepan over medium high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and flour, and cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly.

2. While whisking, slowly pour in milk and chicken broth. Add broccoli and heat, continuing to stir until mixture just begins to boil and thicken. Then reduce heat to a simmer and allow to cook, stirring frequently, until broccoli is tender, about 5 - 7 minutes.    

3. Stir in cream. Remove from heat, stir in cheddar, mixing until melted. Serve immediately with fresh ground black pepper, and warm, crusty bread.

* Now to find a use for those leftover broccoli stalks…

Nick Roumel is a principal with Nacht & Roumel, PC, a firm in Ann Arbor specializing in employment and civil right litigation. He also has many years of varied restaurant and catering experience, has taught Greek cooking classes, and writes a food/restaurant column for “Current” magazine in Ann Arbor. Follow him at @nickroumel.

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