Broccoli Cheddar Soup


It’s been unseasonably cool the past few days, as well as pouring rain.  I won’t complain about the break in the heat, however the raining cats and dogs I could do without.  My garden is completely flooded and I’m worried that some of my plants are going to drown :/  To top it all off, it’s that time of the month.  Pardon my getting personal, I’m just trying to paint you a vivid picture of how the need for a soup filled with cheddar cheese and bacon was born…

HA!  As if I needed a reason to crave a soup with cheese and bacon.  But in all honesty, there was a greater need given the situation.  It was a stormy evening early in June, and I was curled up in a sweater on my couch trying to get work done, but failing miserably.  Exhausted from the thunder keeping me up all night and the dark, rainy Monday afternoon not doing anything to help, I decided that I wanted comfort food for dinner.  A warm, cozy, stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal.  I thought about beef stew, but it was too late to throw that together.  I considered chili for a minute, but it seemed too boring at the time.  And then it hit me; I wanted something cheesy.  It didn’t take long to decide that bacon should be involved, and that while I wanted this comfort food to deliver in flavor, it also had to be healthy.  Yes, I’m that girl 🙂

You don’t have to worry about the healthy part, because believe me you can’t tell at all.  The flavor of this soup is outrageous: creamy, cheesy, bacon-y, rich goodness that tastes exactly like it’s carb-loaded and cream filled counterpart.  That’s the genius of this soup.  I pureed cauliflower to act as the soup base instead of cream, butter, and flour.  As I never eat yellow cheese because it’s dyed, I added a pinch of turmeric to give it that classic yellow color with added anti-inflammatory and numerous other health benefits.  With some spicy mustard adding a zing of intensity to the cheese and scrumptious, smoky bacon doing what bacon does best, there is really nothing not to love about this soup!  Sure, there is also some broccoli and carrots, but honestly who cares?  Cheese and bacon trump all.  Whip this up next time that junk food craving hits, dare I say this almost clean eating comfort food?! 😉

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 head cauliflower, stem removed and loosely chopped
1 yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp spicy brown mustard
1/4 tsp turmeric
6 cups organic chicken broth, divided (can sub with veggie broth)

4 oz white cheddar cheese, cubed
1 lb bacon, chopped and divided (cooked crispy and 1 Tbsp grease reserved)

1 Tbsp bacon grease (can sub with olive oil/butter)
1 large crown broccoli, stem removed and chopped small
1 large carrot, grated (about 1/2 cup grated worth)

salt and pepper, to taste
grated cheddar cheese, for topping

Directions:
1. Add the olive oil, onion, and celery to a large pot on medium heat.  Saute for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds.
3. Add the chopped cauliflower and add enough chicken broth to just cover the cauliflower, about 5-6 cups.
4. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and cover.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is fork tender.  Stir in the mustard and turmeric.
5.  Using an immersion blender, or food processor/blender, puree the soup so it is a creamy and smooth.  Add the pot back to the stove on low and stir in the cheddar cheese until it dissolves.
6.  Chop 3/4 lb of the bacon and add to the pot.
7.  In a separate, small pot add 1 Tbsp bacon grease on medium heat.  Saute the broccoli and carrots for 1-2 minutes, then add a cup of broth and bring to a boil.  Simmer with a lid on for 5 minutes, or until the broccoli is soft.
8.  Add the contents of the small pot to the large pot and mix to combined. Spoon into individual bowls, top with grated cheddar cheese and the last 1/4 lb chopped bacon, and serve warm.

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