Once the fall arrives, and I get into “soup mode,” there is just no stopping me. I will look for any excuse and any ingredient to make soup. This recipe came as the result of my having a lone leek in the fridge, coupled with my going absolutely crazy at a frozen vegetable sale at the local market. Those 10/$10 deals, particularly where name brand, one-pound packages of frozen vegetables are concerned, are truly my Achilles heel. I think we're pretty much set for the winter now.
Cheesy Leek and Broccoli Soup
1 large leek
5 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups chicken stock, plus more for thinning, if necessary
1 16-ounce package frozen, chopped broccoli
6 baby or 2 large carrots
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 8-ounce package Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cut carrots into julienne strips; set aside.
Cut dark green end off of leek. Remove the tough outer leaves and split leek down the middle (but not completely through), spread apart and rinse thoroughly to remove all grit. Thinly slice leek into rounds.
In a 10" sauté pan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat. Add leek and cook until soft and opaque, but not brown; set aside.
Meanwhile, melt remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a 2-quart pot. Whisk in flour and cook for 3-5 minutes. Slowly add milk and cream, whisking constantly.
Whisk in chicken stock. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes.
Add reserved carrots and leeks, and add broccoli. Cook for 25 more minutes over medium-low heat.
Add cheese, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Thin with additional stock, if too thick. Heat through and serve.
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