I am so very proud of my daughter! She cooked us dinner for the very first time last night, and she did a wonderful job of it. She is learning cooking and nutrition skills in her Freshman courses called “Family and Consumer Studies” or some such nonsense. Back in ancient times when I was that age, the class was called Home Economics (Home Ec for short). Nonetheless, the class has taught her that she CAN cook something besides eggs and cookies, both of which she cooks herself on a regular basis.
The original recipe has no chicken in it, but since this was going to be our dinner she wanted to add some. She asked me if I could cook the chicken for her and she would do the rest. How could I complain? I did tell her she could watch me and learn, but alas, that wasn’t part of her plan. So I pan-fried up some chicken, called her down for her part, and started snapping photos. “MOM! I do not want you in the kitchen while I do this. GO! I can do this myself!” You don’t know how hard it was for me to do that. Really. I slunk upstairs to my office space and frittered away the time nervously until I was called to supper.
After I snapped some shots of the finished soup in the pot and took my requisite bowl of soup photos and started eating it, she shouted “Hot Sauce! You can add hot sauce if you want!” I found the Sriracha sauce in the fridge, and she splattered quite a bit over her soup. I tentatively added a few drops over mine and stirred it in, took one bite, and thought “Wow! What a great addition to the taste!” Splurt, splurt, splurt, on went more. Sadly I did not take any photos of this momentous event, but trust me, Sriracha tastes great with this soup. Without further adieu, here is the recipe:
Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Chicken
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
Mrs. Dash Table Blend, or salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups half and half (or whole milk)
2 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium
1-2 pounds fresh broccoli florets
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Sriracha sauce (optional, for serving)
Season the chopped chicken with Mrs. Dash (or salt) and pepper to taste. I used a lot of it. Heat a large skillet to medium high, add the oil, then sauté the chicken for several minutes on each side until browned and cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.
Heat the butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté 3 to 5 minutes, until softened. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the onions and whisk continuously until there are no lumps left. Add the half and half and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick or burn.
Add the broccoli and cook 15 to 20 minutes more until the vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork. Add the salt, pepper, chicken, and cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Serve with Sriracha sauce, or any other hot sauce, and thick slices of crusty bread.