Cheddar Broccoli Soup + Shaun of the Dead

If you couldn’t tell by now, Fall is my favorite time of year. Crisp walks through the leaves, bike rides with the wind whipping your face, and cooking! Lots and lots of cooking. The weather outside seems to demand it, and I am all too happy to acquiesce. As is my large collection of stretchy pants.

And since staying home to try a new recipe and snuggle up to a film will always beat out going to a bar, I’m excited to start a new feature on Gourmet Style Girl – Dinner and a Movie!

Our first pairing, perfect for snuggling up on a chilly night, is cheddar broccoli soup and Shaun of the Dead.

Yep, soup and zombies. Way better than ending up as one of those scantily dressed girls who spend most of a Friday night searching for a taxi until their feet bleed because they are wearing ridiculous shoes. That’s ridiculous.

This soup, however, is not. This soup is super! It’s also a bit time consuming, so keep in mind that while it won’t come together quickly per se, it will be worth it. It’s also filling, heavy even, so a little goes a long way. Freeze the extra and have Fall for a few more weeks!

And a note about the movie – my friend D described it as a hilarious horror movie, and said I would scream in terror and laugh hysterically at the same time. I felt this was a cinematic impossibility, but nay. He was right. If you watch it, have someone to grab onto for the jumpy bits, and someone to help you wipe the tears away when you laugh so hard you cry, like during this scene.

Will you cook this dinner? Will you watch this movie? I want to know!

CHEDDAR BROCCOLI SOUP

Ingredients:

. 2 tablespoons of EVOO

. 1 medium onion, finely choppeed

. 2 stalks celery, finely chopped

. 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

. 2 cups half-and-half

. 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and chopped

. 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

. 1 bay leaf

. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (I used Maldon sea salt, but it’s because I’m addicted – any will do)

. 2 cups chopped broccoli florets

. 1/3 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 1/3 cups)

. Croutons, for topping. If you’ve never made your own, this is the perfect recipe to do it. So, so easy!

Instructions:

1. Start out by chopping all the veggies. This is time consuming, so it’s best to do it all at once, at the beginning. There is something therapeutic about chopping, don’t you think?

2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, until they soften, about five minutes. Add the chicken broth, half-and-half, both types of potatoes, bay leaf, 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put the broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl; add 3 tablespoons water and season with salt. Cover with a paper towel and microwave until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes; drain.

3. When the potatoes are tender, remove the bay leaf from the soup and transfer the soup to a blender OR use an immersion blender if you have one. Puree until smooth, leaving the filler cap slightly open to let steam escape.  I thought this soup was yellow because of the cheese, but negatory – it’s the sweet potato! It comes together beautifully at this stage – bright gold and smooth.

4. Return the soup to the pot and simmer over medium-low heat; stir in the broccoli and season with salt and pepper.

5. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with croutons!

Delicious for both zombies and humans!

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