Today’s sandwich combines sauteed broccoli, onion, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and bacon on freshly-baked bread.
Notes: Is there anything more comforting on all of planet Earth than a steaming hot mug of broccoli cheddar soup? And is there any better excuse for eating an entire bowl of of what amounts to little more than hot, melted cheese? It’s the go-to order when you are in a bad restaurant, the sure-fire safety net that satisfies every time, no matter how high or low-end the establishment. We simply had to try and translate this classic into grilled cheese form.
My first thought was to make a quick cheese sauce, and bathe the broccoli in it, but I worried it would get too messy when we tried to grill it. Melted cheddar didn’t seem like it was going to have the thick richness reminiscent of soup, so we also added a thin layer of cream cheese. It warms and melts ever so slightly, adding a lush creaminess to the sandwich. The broccoli, onion, and garlic is quickly sauteed, until just cooked but still crisp, in a splash of chicken broth to impart a bit of the chicken flavor you expect from the base for this soup. The hot, crusty, freshly-baked bread was a great textural addition, and the bacon? That was a last-minute decision designed primarily to horrify my doctor.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup Grilled Cheese
Makes two sandwiches
- 4 slices fresh-baked bread
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 4 slices bacon
- 6-8 large broccoli florets, finely chopped
- 3 slices onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Splash of chicken stock
- 4 tablespoons butter
In a large frying pan over low heat, slowly cook bacon until brown. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Drain all but a few teaspoons of fat from the pan.
In the same pan, increase heat to high and add broccoli, onion, garlic, and a splash of chicken stock. Cook until broccoli turns dark green but is still crisp, 1-2 minutes.
To assemble each sandwich: Spread both pieces of bread with a very thin layer of cream cheese, and top each slice with some of the shredded cheddar. Add bacon and broccoli mixture to one slice, and close sandwich. Spread a tablespoon of butter on each side of the outside of the sandwich. Grill in a clean frying pan or on griddle over medium heat, flipping occasionally, until cheese is melted and bread is golden brown, 4-6 minutes.