Not everything comes out as planned, but I’m not one to give up on a potentially good dish. With some tweaks, this came out quite well. See-Results below for the tweaks I did.
This soup came about from an abundance of broccoli. I had ordered groceries pre-Thanksgiving and asked for a large bag of broccoli florets. They were out of the large bags and gave me three 12 ounce bags in its place (more than double of the original one). I steamed some for pre-thanksgiving and decided to make chowder with the rest. I’ve always loved broccoli cheddar soup so I wanted to make a somewhat healthier version of it. This is a hearty, filling soup full of broccoli and vegetables. I wanted to include other vegetables and try to reduce the calories a bit. Instead of heavy cream and a roux in the usual versions, I substituted low-fat milk and arrowroot. It does have a fair amount of cheese so it’s not totally low fat/calorie but you can make any substitutions you would like. Make it richer with the heavy cream, more cheese and a flour/butter roux, or make it lower fat with less cheese and skim milk. Evaporated skim milk gives a creamy texture to a soup. Add any additional vegetables of your preference. Your choice…it will be delicious either way. Enjoy!
2 – 32 ounce containers of vegetable stock
24 ounces broccoli florets cut into small pieces. Remove most of the stems. (If using whole broccoli cut off the florets into smaller pieces, removing the stems).
6 ounces frozen corn
8 ounces frozen mixed vegetables
1 sweet onion chopped or 3 tablespoons dried minced onions
6 tablespoons garlic powder or 2 cloves of garlic crushed
4 tablespoons Montreal seasoning
18-20 turns of the salt grinder (2-3 tablespoons of salt)
2 cups low-fat milk or whole milk (or heavy cream, 1-2 containers of evaporated skim milk)
12 ounces Sharp Cheddar shredded (additional or less cheese if you wish)
2 -3 tablespoons Arrowroot mixed in water (or make a cooked roux with butter and flour) (I don’t recommend cornstarch as it can get gummy)
Add all ingredients except the milk and cheese. Add additional water leaving room for the milk. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Warm the milk to almost boiling, add the cheese, stirring until it melts. Add to the crockpot, cooking for another 20-30 minutes to meld the flavors. Use an immersion blender if you want it a little smoother. If it is still not thick, you can take some out and place in a large saucepan adding some additional arrowroot mixed in a little water to thicken. Heat to boil, stirring frequently. It will thicken as it boils. It may also thicken when you reheat it to boiling.
Almost a failure—I found the broccoli to be quite tough. Boiling the soup after it’s done will soften it and thicken the soup. I did remove some of the broccoli to use for another dish and added a few handful of additional shredded cheese (use sharp cheddar) and additional spices. (It was rather bland) I added a cup of whole milk to make it a little creamier. I also used the immersion blender to make some of it a little smoother. The end result was not as low-fat as I hoped but it tasted much better and more like I remember it tasting. The extra cheese, additional spices and removing some of the broccoli saved it, whew!
Serve it as a first course or make it a meal with a salad. Some hearty bread or baguette will be a great accompaniment. It will warm you on these cold days. Enjoy!