Jalapeno Broccoli Cheese Soup in a bowl

Jalapeño Broccoli Cheese Soup

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Seriously … sharp cheddar cheese + tender broccoli + spicy jalapeños = perfection. There’s really nothing else to say here. By adding spicy jalapeño to a traditional broccoli cheese soup, you turn a simple meal into an exceptional one.

Cook 1/2 pound broccoli in boiling water until tender; immediately plunge into ice water until cool; drain and chop into small pieces. Saute diced onions and jalapeños in butter until tender. Stir in 2 Tablespoons flour; pour in 2 cups chicken broth and 1/2 c chopped carrots; cook until carrots are tender. Stir in 12 oz evaporated milk and 4 oz cream cheese. After cream cheese is melted and incorporated, stir in chopped broccoli and 8 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

– Replace the broccoli with cauliflower or mixed veggies
– Instead of jalapeños, use another spicy pepper such as green chiles or (cautiously) habaneros
– Replace up to half of the cheddar with a different cheese … Swiss, Gouda, and Pepper Jack are all delicious options!
– Add ham, bacon, chicken, turkey, ground beef, or beans for extra protein
– Serve the soup in a hollowed-out sour dough loaf and eat your bowl!

– Use frozen broccoli florettes (no need to pre-cook, just add them in before the cheese!
– Use pickled jalapenos from a jar and roughly chop them up, or keep them in whole slices. Add them at the same time as the broccoli.
– You may be tempted, but it’s best to NOT use pre-shredded cheddar … the coating they add to keep it from clumping also keeps it from melting smoothly. Just take the extra couple of minutes and grate the cheese yourself. It really does make a difference!

Are you like me, and when you see broccoli cheese soup on a lunch counter menu you get excited, imagining a liquid-gold cheddar studded with bright emerald-green jewel bites of broccoli that is simultaneously light and rich, but then when the bowl is placed in front of you, you deflate as you look at a disappointingly watered-down bland bowl of soup with an overwhelming flavor of mushy broccoli and an unnatural orangeness that is not found in nature?

Well, this soup is not that. I’ve cracked the code and discovered how to make an incredibly cheesy soup that retains it’s rich cheddar-ness, without being overwhelmed by the overpowering flavor and smell of army-green broccoli. Then, to make it even more interesting and addictive, I throw in spicy jalapeños. Serve it with sourdough bread, crackers, or ham sandwiches. Just be sure to make a lot, because this soup reheats BEAUTIFULLY and will keep you lunch-happy for several days!

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