This Charred Broccoli Cheddar Potato Soup is my kind of comfort food. What’s not to love? It’s creamy, chunky, cheesy and full of charred broccoli goodness. I added a little twist with the addition of fresh basil that complements the charred broccoli nicely.
Have you ever heard of Servas International? It is one of the coolest non-profits organizations ever! It’s an international network of hosts and travelers. As a host, you provide hospitality to travelers from all over the world and as a traveler, you can look up hosts in the country you plan to travel through. They provide a booklet that lists all the hosts that are available by country. The host tells a little bit about themselves and the maximum number of days they will provide lodging per traveler. If they really like you they may allow for longer stays. The traveler sends the host an email or letter telling them about themselves like their interest, if they are vegetarian etc. Then the host will ok the traveler if they feel they are someone they would like to host. The coolest thing about this is that you get to meet local families and experience their culture instead of staying in hotels.
My mom and I were traveling in the south island of New Zealand for two months and we used Servas as travelers. We stayed with three families, one was an awesome elderly couple named Ann and Tom who lived in Christchurch. We stayed with them for three nights. They were so sweet and they made us breakfast every morning. I returned the favor by making my famous lasagna, salad and garlic bread the evening before we left.
The next morning, we traveled to the north side of the south island to stay with our next Servas family, the Sanders who lived on a kiwi farm in Blenheim in the Marlborough Region (The home of some of best Sauvignon Blanc). They had a pig named Murray, some chickens, a couple of deer that I was able to pet. I was 20 at the time and one of the host’s son was named Tristan who was 18. Tristan took me along with him to a crazy game called Laser Wars, where we met up with 8 of his friends. It was a really fun experience! Tristan later invited me to his friend’s birthday party, which was on the Marlborough Sounds. A few of us cruised around the Sounds in a small rowboat. It is so incredibly gorgeous that words cannot do it justice! It was really great to hang out with some local teens and to see their lifestyle.
The third host lived in the town of Picton. They made us a really nice dinner that New Zealanders call tea. After tea, they took us on an evening walk through a trail that ended up at the top of a hill overlooking all of Picton. It was stunning! Then we hiked down and walked along the beach. We left the next morning and went to back to Blenheim and stayed at a really nice campground for a few days. I called Tristan and he came and picked me up to go hang out with his friends again. The whole Servas experience was phenomenal! What do you think? Would you try it?
8 – 10 servings
- 2 Large Heads Broccoli – 10 Cups – florets roughly chopped – stems peeled and sliced
- 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Dash of Salt and Pepper
- 1/2 White Onion – diced
- 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Cloves Garlic – minced
- 1/3 Cup Dry White Wine
- 1 Vegetable Bouillon Cube – unsalted
- 6 Cups Filtered Water
- 1 1/2 Pounds (about 3 medium) Yellow Potatoes – 1/2 inch cubes
- 3 Tablespoons Butter
- 3 Tablespoons Brown Rice Flour (or regular all-purpose)
- 2 Cups 1 % Milk or Half and Half (I used 1 cup of each)
- 8 oz. (2 1/4 cup) Cheddar Cheese – shredded (make sure it’s a high-quality cheese)
- 1 Tablespoon + 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste
- 1 Cup Fresh Basil – packed – minced
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – drizzle
Add the onions to a 5 1/2 quart pot with the olive oil and saute on medium-low heat for 5 minutes, add the garlic and continue cooking for 5 – 7 more minutes until the garlic starts to brown.
Add the white wine and bouillon cube, mash the bouillon, cook until wine is reduced and syrupy. Add the water and potatoes to the onions then turn on high heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the flour and stir for about a minute. Slowly whisk in the milk little at a time to avoid the flour from clumping and mix in well. Bring the milk to a boil and turn the heat down to medium-low and slowly add the cheese a little at a time. When completely melted, add to the soup.
Add the broccoli, basil, salt and pepper. You can leave it chunky, puree half or puree it all. I roughly pureed half.
Broccoli has cholesterol-lowering ability and strong impact on our body’s detoxification system. It is also rich in both forms of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble. It is very high in vitamin C & K.