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It’s been raining for 3 days and counting. I can’t remember the last time it rained for this long in Southern California!?  But I love it when it rains. The earthy smell makes me want to spend the entire day on my recliner, with a sizzling cup of hot chocolate and my favorite fashion magazine as my only friends.

My sincere advice to all my southern Californian friends: Keep off the roads until the raining period concludes. It’s better to stay at home then to hit the roads with terrible, frantic drivers. You know the drill: light the fireplace, order some Thai food and start a happy hour. Isn’t this exactly what we’re born for?
To eat, pray and love right?

The weather report said that we also have a tornado warning. Like really, a tornado warning in the LBC? They may have exaggerated a bit. I guess I will believe them when I see it.

Tornado warnings remind me of the time back when I used to live in St. Charles, Missouri and we had REAL storms and tornado warnings. I’ve seen some of the prettiest lightning shows growing up, accompanied with thunderclaps; loud enough to scare a sleeping baby. For tornados we would hear the siren go off. My dad usually would run outside with his video camera and talk to the neighbors hoping to catch a tornado on film. I don’t remember anyone being afraid back then, but that was maybe because we had basements and the chances of a tornado hitting us were slim.

My mom would make a killer chicken and dumplings soup on a chilly day. I still remember how yummy it used to taste and since then I have developed this infatuation with the word soup.

I must say: this is the soup of all soups. It’s warm, it’s cheesy, and it’s loaded with veggies. Out of all of the soups I’ve made on this blog this is my favorite (shh… don’t tell my other soups). It’s a bit time consuming but it’s totally worth it. San Fran has inspired me to put everything in a bread bowl. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

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Loaded Broccoli Cheese Soup

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped carrots, diced small
  • 1 cup chopped celery, diced small
  • 3 cups peeled and chopped potatoes, diced small
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 4-5 cups broccoli crowns, diced small (about 2 heads of broccoli)
  • 4-6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 16 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, combine the chicken broth, carrots, celery, potatoes and onion. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are starting to get tender.
  2. Add the chopped broccoli. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. The pan is going to be very full of vegetables and it might seem like it isn't "soupy" enough since the vegetables overpower the broth but I promise it will all work out when you add the cheese mixture.
  3. In a separate medium saucepan, saute the bacon until golden and crisp. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain the grease and wipe out the saucepan.
  4. Melt the butter (in the same saucepan you cooked the bacon in) over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until golden, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook until the mixture is bubbling and is slightly thickened, 5-7 minutes.
  5. Stir in the cheddar cheese one handful at a time, adding another handful after the cheese that has been added has melted. Stir in the salt, pepper and dry mustard.
  6. Slowly stir the cheese sauce into the hot broth and vegetables, whisking to combine well. Stir in the reserved bacon and add additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed. If you want the soup a bit thinner, stir in a little extra broth or milk a bit at a time until you get the consistency you are looking for.

Recipe adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe