BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP

The whole of this week, it had been raining a lot, stepped out this morning into the cool & crispy refreshing air & realized the “Seasons are a changin’ !” Fall is here, early, the leaf edges were beginning to get laced with color, yet the cold front is definitely sweeping in thru’ the city like a gentle quiet snake.You know you are ready for some warm soup, when your insides do an involuntary shiver,indicating that Fall is here…..”Oh! but what about healthy ?” asks your inner voice”Off course, Broccoli is healthy!” you reply.”Cheese ??? REALLY ???” nudges the inner voice again, you blissfully ignore it, by muttering to yourself while you add the dollop of butter in ….Ah! the more the merrier,after all it’s sweater season FINALLY! and what’s more you can always blame it on the turkey later grin emoticon grin emoticon……so I also,add a good amount of sharp cheddar cheese, after all one needs those layers of fat, to keep the brutal cold away.
The first time, I ever tasted this soup was in TGF when after a good day of fun & frolic in the Disney World, during our vacation, we returned to our room hungry & tired.The closest place was this restaurant,within walking distance,we stepped in & after explaining to the waiter how any egg in the soup would get me ready for another roller coaster ride of life & he clearly understanding the danger of that situation, brought me this “egg free” soup, promising me that once I taste his Broccoli cheese soup from the allergy free menu, he handed me, I would be a fan for life.True to the word, I settled myself to a bowl of steaming hot delicious “egg free” Broccoli Cheese soup while the others watched the game.Since then, it’s been my favorite vegetarian soup, though only recently, I got to learn about the traditional recipe from a friend.
Here is a first of soups, in the soup season to follow, I also added a good amount of powdered Malabar black pepper powder to spice it up. Settle in for a relaxed weekend with a bowl of soup & get those Fall crafts, from your bucket list ready for ushering in the season of colors.

Ingredients:
1.Butter- 3 tbsp
2.Onion- 1 ( medium size ,sliced thin)
3.Carrots- 8-10 baby carrots, diced small
4.Garlic cloves- 3/4 minced fine
5.All purpose flour- 4 tbsp
6.Milk- 2 cups ( I substituted milk, instead of thick cream)
7.Water – 3-4 cups ( original recipe calls for vegetable or chicken stock, since I did not have them handy, I substituted with plain water)
8.Powdered Black Pepper- 2- 3 tsp ( I used the readymade Malabar Black Pepper powder .Spice level can be adjusted to your taste)
9.Salt- to taste
10.Cheddar cheese- 8 ounces,as listed in the traditional recipe( I substituted Kraft singles 12 sheets of 0.6 ounces each, coz I had them handy)

Method:
1.Heat butter on medium in a thick bottomed stockpot, until melted.
2.To this now add the finely sliced onions, & sauté till they become translucent, then add the diced carrots in & stir a little till they are cooked & soft.
3.Add in the garlic & sauté,till the raw smell disappears.
4.Now add the flour & stir a bit.To this add the milk , making sure the flour is nicely blended in with the milk.You will notice the liquid thickening, exactly the purpose of adding the flour!
5.Now add in the Broccoli florets,salt & black pepper powder along with water or chicken/vegetable broth to liquidate as much as you desire, usually 3-4
cups.
6.Continue to cook until the soup reaches a simmer.Now reduce heat & let it cook on medium for another 5-8 minutes, until broccoli is completely cooked.
7.Add in the shredded cheese & stir well so it melts in the soup, giving it that rich creamy flavor.
8.Remove from stove top, serve immediately with additional cheese on top if desired.
Enjoy your soup, it sure is a comfort food to chase your winter blues away!

Note:
You can puree the Broccoli florets or keep them whole as you desire, I minced them into smaller bits, to give that crunchiness in the soup.

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