Roux the Day: “Inspired by Ed” Broccoli Cheese Soup

I came to Christ when I was 18 years old and a freshman in college.  That’s a long story for another place and time.  I came to Catholicism a little less than a year later, and I fumbled my way through my first real Lent.  Thankfully, God had put on our campus a wonderful, sincere and True-with-a-capital-T Christopher House (Catholic Community Center), and for the Fridays in Lent they offered dirt cheap meatless fellowship meals ($1?  2?  Either way, dirt cheap).  They were cooked by Mary and Ed, the couple who always cooked for our retreat weekends.  Now, any “Chris Housers” reading this know Ed is most famous for his “beer dogs.” However, I’ll always remember his broccoli-cheese soup, the first Friday meal of his I had.  We had to walk through the kitchen to get our food, and I remember him peeling slice after slice of American cheese into a giant steel pot, and all I could think was, “Whatever’s in there, it’s gonna be good.”  In honor of Ed and all my friends from “The House,” I bring you what my family had for dinner tonight…

“Inspired by Ed” Broccoli-Cheese Soup

2 heads of broccoli, washed, de-leaved, & 2″ cut off the bottoms
5 c milk
3 T finely chopped onion
1 tsp salt
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
1 T flour
1 tsp black pepper
1 lb sliced American cheese
10 slices Swiss cheese
1/2 c heavy cream

In a food processor, finely chop the broccoli.  Place the broccoli into a large, heavy soup pot and pour the milk over it.  Leave uncovered and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally and making sure the bottom doesn’t scorch.  Meanwhile, heat onion and salt in a large sautee pan over medium-high, stirring frequently.  Once the onion starts to get brown on the edges, add the butter & olive oil and stir until golden brown.  Add flour & black pepper and stir until bubbly and even more golden brown.  Add flour-onion mixture to the milk & broccoli and stir occasionally until the broccoli is no longer floating on the top but is evenly distributed.  Turn heat to medium-low and add the cheese, slice by slice, stirring until melted.  Just before serving, stir in the cream. 

We had this with my Last-Minute Bread, the recipe for which I’ll have to share another time (one recipe per day, my friends–what am I, some kind of machine?).  Lately I keep forgetting to put dough in the bread machine in the morning, which means I have do to the bread last minute?  What is wrong with me?  Or could it just be the fact that I have a toddler in the house? 

The endorsement for this soup comes from said toddler, who ate it by the fistful once the spoon proved too slow.  Now that’s a compliment. 

Allergy notes:  I believe Ed made his with canned cream of broccoli soup as a base, but as that’s unfailingly made with soy, this is a little more hypoallergenic.  Vegan, however, it ain’t. 

Slow-cooker notes:   If I were making this on a day when Little Flowers hadn’t been cancelled because all of my kids were sick, I’d make this at naptime and put it in the slow cooker on “warm.”  While it’s not a “dump & walk” recipe, it does lend itself to cooking in installments.  Chop the onions & broccoli when you have a minute.  Cook the broccoli in the milk when you have 15 minutes then stick it in the fridge.  Etc etc.

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About Erin McCole Cupp
Erin McCole Cupp is a wife, mother, and lay Dominican who lives with her family of vertebrates somewhere out in the middle of Nowhere, Pennsylvania. Her short writing has appeared in Canticle Magazine, The Catholic Standard and Times, Parents, The Philadelphia City Paper, The White Shoe Irregular, Outer Darkness Magazine, and the newsletter of her children’s playgroup. She is a contributor to CatholicMom.com and has been a guest blogger for the Catholic Writers Guild. Her other professional experiences include acting, costuming, youth ministry, international scholar advising, and waiting tables. When Erin is not writing, cooking or parenting, she can be found reading, singing a bit too loudly, sewing for people she loves, gardening in spite of herself, or dragging loved ones to visitors centers at tourist spots around the country. Find out more about her novels and other projects at erinmccolecupp.com .

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