Broccoli, Yellow Pepper & Cheddar Chowder

INGREDIENTS:

1 small head broccoli (1/2 pound)
1 large boiling potato (1/2 pound)
1 large onion, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
l large garlic clove, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. flour
3/4 c. half and half
6 oz sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated

INSTRUCTIONS:

Discard tough lower third of broccoli stem. Peel remaining stem and finely chop. Cut remaining broccoli into very small florets. Cook florets in a large pot of  boiling salt water until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking, then drain. Reserve 4 – 5 cups cooking water for chowder.

Peel potato and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Cook potato, onion, bell pepper, broccoli stems, and garlic in butter in a heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add cumin, salt, pepper, and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add reserved cooking water and simmer (partially covered), stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in cream and cheese and cook, stirring, until cheese is melted, then season with salt and pepper.

Purée about 2 cups of chowder in a blender until smooth and return to pot. Add florets and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes.

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