So one of the things that I learned in being on maternity leave is that slow-cooker recipes are your friend. Anything that you can prep, and then throw into the slow-cooker, and not have to think about for hours is going to be a winner. It kind of makes me wish I had a more modern slow-cooker of the kind where you can set it to cook on high for x number of hours, and then it would automatically switch to the “warm” function so that you could set it before work, and still have a delightful warm (but not burned!) meal when you get home. Perhaps I need to look at if our instant pot does that, or I’ll just need to ask for that for a birthday or Christmas.
In any case, once I started putting myself back in charge of meals for the family, I wanted that ease. I wanted to be able to “set and forget”, but this recipe will always be memorable for me for a few reasons. One – it was really good. But two – I happened to slice my finger while making it. Eep! That’s right friends – be careful of how you cut the onions, and don’t let the knife slip down the curved edge and get you. The good news is that I didn’t cut very deep, and didn’t need stitches (yay for medical grade glue?), so this recipe isn’t ruined for me forever.
The recipe itself is based on one by the Pioneer Woman, but the Kitchn adjusted it slightly so that there’s not any need to use Velveeta, which I appreciated. I also felt very clever and instead of using regular crackers (because I don’t keep those around), I looked to see what I had, and I had a giant box of goldfish. And it turns out that goldfish crackers are terrific with a broccoli cheddar soup. So if you too are looking for an easy meal to make, one that won’t take a lot of time out of your day (or that can be prepped in advance), one that won’t require you to slave over a hot oven, that makes a lot of leftovers and keeps pretty well…this might be your recipe.
Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Yield: 10 to 12 servings
1 pound frozen broccoli florets
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 (10.5-ounce) cans cream of celery soup
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 pounds sharp Cheddar cheese (in block)
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (8 ounces), plus more for serving
Crumbled saltine crackers, for serving
Place the broccoli, chicken broth, onions, carrots, cream of celery soup, seasoned salt, kosher salt, black pepper, and cayenne in a slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and cook on the HIGH setting for 4 hours to soften the veggies.
Use an immersion blender or potato masher to purée the soup to the level of smoothness that you prefer. Blending 3/4 smooth leaves some chunks for delicious texture, and blending completely makes it smooth and silky. Can also blend cup by cup in a regular blender, returning blended portions back to slow cooker.
Add the block and shredded cheddar to combine with the soup puree. Cover, turn the heat to the LOW setting, and cook for 15 minutes until creamy.
At this point, taste the soup and season to taste: a little more salt, a little more cayenne, etc. Serve soup warm with a sprinkling of Cheddar and some crumbled saltines, or else use Goldfish crackers to get that crispy/cheesy flavor in one!