Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Cheesy Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Serves 8 generously.

2-3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced thin
1 large onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 cup green beans, chopped
1 small head of broccoli, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups 2% milk
4 cups Chicken Stock
4 cups freshly grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
4 cups of shredded or chopped chicken or a rotisserie chicken
sea salt
black pepper

1.In your pot or Dutch Oven, heat the olive oil and start sauteing your vegetables (except for the frozen peas). I like to start with the toughest first, like the carrots and broccoli.
2.Keep adding vegetables, while stirring until they are all softened, about 20 minutes.
3.Remove the vegetables from the pot and place them in a large bowl and set aside.
4.You can add the frozen peas to this veggie mixture at this time.
5.Melt the 1/2 cup of butter in the pot on a medium/low heat.
6.Add the flour and mix together until incorporated.
7.Slowly add the heavy cream, and the milk, while whisking together.
8.When it becomes slightly thickened, add the chicken stock and whisk to combine.
9.Turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
10.Add the vegetable mixture back in, give it a good stir, cover and simmer on low 20 more minutes.
11.Add 3 1/2 cups of the Cheddar Cheese and season well with the sea salt and pepper. I use about 2 1/2 tsp. of salt and 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. black pepper, but start out with a little and keep tasting until you get it the way you want- you can’t take out salt but you can always add more:)
12.Top with remaining grated Cheddar Cheese and serve warm in homemade bread bowls or with fresh crusty bread.

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