One cold fall day I visited Marissa at Quizno’s, her short lived high school employer. When her shift ended we feasted on two abnormally large bowls of cheddar broccoli soup. Nothing cut the cold like this creamy meal and when we arrived back at her place we raved about it to her mom, Mary.
I spent the night at Marissa’s and in the morning we were greeted by a familiar smell and a cheery mom. When we came upstairs there was a cauldron of soup on the stove. We peeked inside and it was full of cheddar broccoli soup!
Unbeknownst to us, Mary had woken up early, ran to the grocery store, and spent her morning cooking us the soup we had raved about the night before. We grabbed some bowls and experienced the best soup that had ever graced this earth. I asked her where she found the recipe and she laughed. She had no recipe, she made it from scratch off the top of her head. Marissa and I were incredibly impressed by her mother’s skill. From that day on we completely dismissed Quizno’s soup as it could never hold a candle to her mom’s secret recipe.
That day inspired me. It inspired me to not only cook, but to use my creativity in everything I do. Not to follow someone else’s direction but to do things in my own way. When you have the courage to pave your own path greatness will surely follow.
Mary passed away from cancer almost two years ago. She was a woman full of joy, laughter and kindness. Her door was always open and she was always willing to help in any way she could. I am incredibly thankful for knowing her as she inspired me in more ways than she will ever know. Most importantly she gave me a friend who has been there for me through thick and thin. A friend who I consider family.
2 Tbsp. salted butter
1 shallot, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 heads of broccoli, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 Yukon gold potatoes, diced
1 Tsp. ground mustard
1 Tsp. dried thyme
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup baby spinach
10 oz 2% sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté shallots and onions until translucent. Add garlic and cook for one minute.
Add broccoli, celery, spinach and potatoes. Sprinkle with mustard and thyme. Continue to sauté for about 5 minutes.
Pour chicken stock over vegetables and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 40-60 minutes.
In batches puree the soup in a blender. Return soup to pot and stir in shredded cheese.
Slowly whisk in milk and return to a simmer for 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
This makes about 8 servings, but it also freezes really well!