Mains, Recipes, Soups and Stews

Broccoli Cheese Soup

November 13, 2012

I don’t want to hear anymore. Sometimes as a mother I wish I was deaf. And mute. And blind. This is a terrible thing to say, but Helen Keller would’ve made a great mother. At least a very happy one.

There are times when the baby is crying in my face, literally right in my face and Louisa says,
“Mama, how ’bout I’m Shena and you’re Princess Celestia and you say,’There’s my friend Shena, I should go talk to her.'”
And I can’t really hear her because you know the baby and the crying, and I don’t answer her, so she says “Okay, Mama?” “Mama, okay?” “Mama?”

At that moment it is all I can do to not completely lose it.

And I think to myself, if I couldn’t hear anything right now and I couldn’t see the baby all scrunched faced and screaming and there was no way I could talk, so Louisa would never even expect me to repeat back to her the ongoing theatrical production she has going through her brain, I would be so blissed out right now.

I have two children. I think of the Octomom—no wonder she is octocrazy.

When the utility of my senses gets the better of me and I start idealizing Helen Keller, I turn to my taste buds, the sense that undeniably keeps me sane.

Cheese and cream and comforting soups are always my friends—especially during times of sensory overload. I wish it was raw kelp noodles that I turned to in times of need, but more often it is a piping hot bowl of thick, flavorful, creamy soup.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

The broccoli in this soup gets an extra boost from the addition of chard leaves. Broccoli and chard are flavor cousins and together they have an earthy, vegetal character that makes this soup more about the broccoli and less about the cheese. Not that I want to diminish the cheese—its there and adds just enough sharpness and tang—I just want it to play more of a supporting role.

This soup is guaranteed to save you from meltdowns, tantrums, fiscal cliffs and any other sort of impending doom. Make some and pass it on.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Yield: 6

Adapted from CHOW


  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli (about 1 large head)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, large dice
  • 2 medium red potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups chopped chard leaves
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or cheddar and Monterey Jack mix
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Juice of 1 lemon


  1. Remove the florets of the broccoli and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Place half in a large bowl and half in a small bowl. Cut off the bottom of the stalk and use a vegetable peeler to trim away the woody outer layer. Cut the stalk into 1-inch pieces and place them in the large bowl with the florets.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add potato, large bowl of florets and stalks, chicken stock and chard leaves. Season again with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the remaining florets into 1/4-inch pieces.
  3. Purée the soup using a hand blender or carefully transfer to a blender and purée. Add remaining florets to the puréed soup and cook over medium-low heat until florets are tender, about 10 minutes more. Add cheese, cream, and lemon juice and stir to combine. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed.

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