I was really excited for this soup, but the results were just...ok. I debated on sharing it here, but figured I might as well. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't amazing. Both Lonnie and I had two bowls, but I don't think I would make the same recipe again. But, someone else out there might really love it! The comments on the blog I got the recipe from were all great. It seems like a lot of people enjoyed this recipe. So maybe it was just me. :)
I also did homemade bread bowls to serve the soup in. I've made this bread bowl recipe (the Italian Bread Bowl recipe) several times...and each time they don't come out as round as I would like them to. I am thinking that I might need to add more flour to the recipe and maybe they would stand-up better. But the actual bread is delicious. The bread is hearty and the crust is crusty and the bowl stands up really well with soup in it. I actually halved the recipe this time and only made 3 bread bowls. I didn't want the extras to go to waste.
I got both of these recipes from Mel's Kitchen Cafe, one of my favorite food blogs. She has some amazing recipes and there are a lot from her site that I make again and again.
BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP
1 can chicken broth (about 1 3/4 cups of broth)
1 small onion, diced
1/3 c. flour
1/4 c. butter
Pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon)
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, preferably sharp or extra sharp
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese
2 1/2 to 3 cups chopped, lightly steamed or blanched broccoli (I cheated and used frozen!)
Simmer chicken broth and chopped onion for 15-20 minutes in a covered small saucepan, until onions are soft. Heat milk in microwave for 1-2 minutes. In a separate medium-sized stockpot, melt butter then add flour and pepper. Cook together for a couple of minutes, then whisk in warmed milk. Stir and heat together on medium-high heat until soup starts to thicken. Next add chicken broth and continue to stir until well blended. Add cheeses and steamed broccoli. Serve immediately.
ITALIAN BREAD BOWLS
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
7 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
In a large bowl (or bowl of an electric mixer), dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
Add salt, oil and 4 cups flour to the yeast mixture; beat well. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well with an electric mixer at medium speed after each addition until a soft but not sticky dough is formed (you may not need to use all 7 cups).
When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes (or let knead in an electric mixer). Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Punch dough down, and divide into 6-8 equal portions. Shape each portion into a round ball. Place loaves on lightly greased baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal (or use silpat liners or parchment paper). Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 35 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, beat together egg white and 1 tablespoon water; lightly brush the loaves with half of this egg wash. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Brush with remaining egg mixture, and bake 10 to 15 more minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks.