March in Atlanta can mean sunny days with temperatures in the low ’80s, or miserable, cold, rainy days in the 40s. You just never know. This morning it was cold and rainy, and I’m so ready for spring, it made me really mad. And chilly. While out running errands, I stopped at one of my favorite lunch spots in Midtown Atlanta, Metro Fresh, which specializes in made-from-scratch soups, sandwiches and salads. I had a great bowl of potato broccoli cheddar soup, and it was so good I decided to make my own version for our dinner–and in the process I made enough to share with my daughter Katie, who was feeling tired and run-down. Soup for the soul, right?
Here’s what I came up with. I started by browning some bacon, but you could totally make a vegetarian version of this by skipping the bacon, and using vegetable broth instead of the chicken broth I used.
LOADED POTATO BROCCOLI CHEDDAR SOUP–makes 6-8 servings
2 slices bacon, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 Tbsp. minced garlic (I used the bottled kind)
2 Tbsp. Wondra flour
salt and pepper to taste (use salt sparingly!)
1 cup whole milk or half-and-half
3-1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
3 cups roughly chopped broccoli florets
4 small baking potatoes
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Greek low-fat Greek yogurt.
In large heavy-bottom soup pot brown chopped bacon in a bit of olive oil. Add carrots, onions, celery and garlic, along with rest of olive oil and butter, and cook until vegetables are softened–6-8 minutes on medium heat. While that’s cooking, pop baking potatoes in microwave and cook on high, about 8 minutes. Let potatoes cool, peel and rough chop. To saucepan with vegetables, whisk in Wondra flour, add half and half, stirring well. Add chicken broth, stir well. Add the broccoli florets and cook on medium heat, covered, about 8-10 minutes, until broccoli is softened. Add in potato cubes and stir well. Cook another five minutes or so, until all vegetables are softened. Turn off heat and using hand-held immersion blender, blend soup, leaving some chunks. Turn soup on low, add the cheddar cheese and the Greek yogurt. Stir until cheese is melted. Garnish with chopped chives and serve with cheese toasts.