Caraway bread crumbs give this hearty soup a fine edge. Serve with a green salad and crusty rolls and a crisp-dry Riesling wine or German beer for a fine winter meal.

Bread Crumbs


1 tbsp. unsalted butter

½ c. dried caraway rye bread crumbs

2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Soup


3 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 carrot, finely chopped

½ c. finely chopped onion

½ red bell pepper, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 c. vegetable stock

1 ½ c. small broccoli florets

1 c. peeled russet potato in ½-inch cubes

¼ tsp. celery seed

2 c. milk

2 c. (8 ounces) coarsely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

¼ tsp. dry mustard powder

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Coarsely ground pepper for garnish

Preparation

To make the bread crumbs, melt the butter in a small skillet over low heat. Add the bread crumbs and stir constantly until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool. Toss in the parsley. Set aside.

To make the soup, melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the carrot, onion, bell pepper, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the flour; stir constantly over low heat for about 2 minutes. Gradually add the vegetable stock, whisking until the mixture is smooth.

Add the broccoli, potato, and celery seed. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the milk. When the soup is warm, add the cheese, stirring gently (taking care not to break the broccoli florets), until the cheese is melted. Stir in the mustard powder and season to taste.

Sprinkle each serving with pepper and bread crumbs.

Advance Preparation

Refrigerate the soup and bread crumbs in separate covered containers for up to 3 days.