Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I did it. I did what most people in their right mind would not attempt to do. I went to Costco. On a Saturday. The Saturday before Thanksgiving, to be precise. I did it alone, and I survived. I saw a mom in the parking lot with her four small children. I looked at her with a look of compassion, and she looked back at me with a look of both panic and dread. For a moment we spoke without ever saying a word. I grabbed my cart, put my head down, and forged on ahead. I was not going to be pulled aside and told about an incredible deal on knives. Forget the chair that cost 7k. No thank you, sir. I’m here for an ungodly amount of mozzarella cheese and almond flour, and I refuse to be swayed to the left or to the right.

I got what I needed and was heading out when what to my wondering eye should appear but an enormous container filled with the most glorious assortment of mushrooms! My plans for the day suddenly shifted as I grabbed the mushrooms and tossed them in my cart with zero hesitation.

I love mushrooms. Super-big-puffy-heart love them. And now I had the biggest container of dried mushrooms ever. The world was my oyster {mushroom}. Da, dunt, da!
It’s been really cold here the past week, so I have been eating lots of soup. I’ve been craving broccoli cheddar soup, but I decided to take it to the next level. My mushrooms would be just the thing to bring it up a notch. We know of the sweet, salty, bitter, and sour tastes; but, what about mushrooms? They bring us a depth in taste known as umami. You can’t really put your finger on what it is, but it is splendid! It doesn’t fit nicely into one of the other four tastes. It stands alone, and it’s where a lot of magic happens. I love to make food that has many layers. I’m not a one-note-wonder type of cook. I want layers and layers of flavor. That’s where things like umami come into play. If a recipe calls for water consider using a mushroom stock instead. It’s an opportunity for you to add depth of flavor with ease.

2 cups mushroom stock (from dried mushrooms or store bought)
2 heads of broccoli (fresh or frozen. I used bags of frozen from Costco)
2 tsp roasted garlic (I used it from a jar, but making your own is best!)
3 T almond flour
5 T butter
1 T oil
2 cups unsweetened cashew milk
¼ cup heaving whipping cream
Pink salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (optional, but again – depth of flavor)
¼ tsp cayenne (optional)
1/3 cup Nutritonal Yeast
2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese

Thoroughly rinse dried mushrooms then soak in hot water for 30 mins. Once soaked drain the liquid though a sieve to remove any little bits of particles from mushrooms.

Steam broccoli in large pot with 1/2 cup of the stock until tender.

Remove and thoroughly drain ½ of the broccoli and set aside.

Take the other ½ of broccoli and add to blender with stock (from steaming).

Add the heavy whipping cream, and ½ cup of remaining stock to blender. Add ¼ tsp of salt. Blend thoroughly.

In the same pot that you steamed your broccoli in add butter and oil (oil added to keep butter from burning, because your pot will still be warm).

Add in almond flour and stir. Cook for about 2 mins then add in remaining cup of mushroom stock, 2 cups of cashew milk, the blended broccoli mixture, nutritional yeast, onion powder, nutmeg, and cayenne. I add more salt and pepper at this point as well. (Always salt and season as each level of cooking.) Stir to combine.

Chop the other portion of broccoli and add to mixture along with the 2 cups of cheese.

Simmer on low until cheese is melted.

Serve with more cheese on top if you so desire.  Clearly, I so desire. 🙂


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