Broccoli Soup with Homemade Croutons

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped (I used a handful of large baby carrots)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons AP flour
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup cream

1.  Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add broccoli, onion, carrot, salt, and pepper and saute until onion is translucent.

2.  Add flour, cook for a few minutes or until flour has changed to a light brown.  Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.

3.  Simmer uncovered until broccoli and veggies are tender (about 15 minutes).  Add cream.  Use an immersion or countertop blender to puree soup.  If using a countertop blender you’ll have to puree soup in small batches. 

4.  Return soup to pot and add additional salt and pepper (if needed).  Serve hot with homemade croutons.

Croutons:
day old french bread (I used ciabatta)
olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.  Cut bread into cubes and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
3.  Spread seasoned cubes onto a jelly roll pan and bake for about 15 minutes, turning once.

*This soup makes only 3-4 servings.  I would double or triple the recipe for a family.
*If you don’t have french bread you can use any bread you have on hand for the croutons.  I’ve used regular white, wheat, and multi-grain sandwhich bread as well as french and ciabatta.  ALL of them taste good!  
Source:  FoodNetwork.com

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