Today was a pretty good day for the Pollock family. For the first time ever, all four of us were qualified to vote. With the Canadian election just over a week away, and with both girls home, we decided to vote together in an advance poll. I’m so proud of my daughters who follow politics as closely as I do, and who wouldn’t have missed voting for anything. (I still remember my oldest daughter’s first election, when my youngest was so upset at being the only one who couldn’t vote, she refused to come out of her room.) One of my favourite parts of the day – other than the post-voting selfie – was the discussion about politics that continued on the way home and into the evening.
On the night of October 19, we’ll watch the election returns from three different residences. If we’re lucky, we’ll each have something as delicious and comforting as this wonderful soup for dinner. No matter what your political bent, you’ll love it too!
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
(from Smitten Kitchen)
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped small
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup half-and-half
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 – 2 bay leaves
4 cups broccoli florets and stems, chopped small (about two small to medium heads)
1 cup diced carrots (1 big or 2 small)
8 ounces coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheddar cheese (note: this soup is very cheesy. You could probably cut back to 6 ounces cheese without losing any flavour – although it was wonderful like this!)
Melt the butter in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually whisk in the half-and-half until smooth. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves, and salt and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
Add the broccoli and carrots to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and adjust seasoning if needed, but err on the cautious side with the salt because the cheese will add a bit. Puree the soup to the consistency you like – chunky or completely smooth – with an immersion blender. Add cheese, put back on the stove, and whisk until melted, about a minute.
Serve with homemade croutons or extra grated cheese (optional). The soup is also terrific just on its own.