I know, I know…MORE SOUP! I do my best to share with you what we’re eating at home, and the truth is, right now we’re eating a lot of soup! I hope you aren’t totally over the soup situation, because this Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe is one you have to try!
I have a love/hate relationship with broccoli cheddar soup. Most of my experiences with this classic have either been really, really good or really, really bad. The really good ones are thick and creamy, with big chunks of broccoli, and a hefty dose of real cheddar cheese. The bad ones are plasticky and overly rich–almost like you’re sucking nacho cheese sauce straight out of a shady looking street vendor’s cart.
Because of this conundrum, I’d kind of given up on Broccoli Cheddar Soup for awhile. Then, a few weeks back I forgot to customize my produce order through Green Bean Delivery, and I found myself in possession of a few large heads of broccoli. Normally, I would simply roast it up for The Best Broccoli of Your Life, but for some reason I wasn’t in the mood. Previous dinner plans went out the window, and I scoured the fridge and freezer to figure out what I would make that week.
After a quick inventory, I discovered I had everything I needed to make Broccoli Cheddar Soup. Now, I only needed to find a recipe for it. Not surprisingly, there are about a million recipes for broccoli cheese soup on the interwebs. A Pinterest search was far too overwhelming to narrow it down, but then I googled it and up popped Smitten Kitchen’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe. She’s never let me down before, and her description of a not-too-rich, creamy broccoli soup for folks who actually really like broccoli (and not just cheese sauce) had me convinced.
As always, I was not disappointed. This Broccoli Cheddar Soup falls into the really, really good camp. I stayed fairly true to Deb’s original recipe, but added a bit more carrot, a pinch of nutmeg, and a little colby jack cheese to mine. I love the color and hint of sweetness the carrot provides, and nutmeg is the surprise ingredient that makes nearly any cheese-based savory sauce sing. This soup is thick and creamy without feeling too heavy. I like to use an immersion blender to puree it part way, but still leave plenty of big chunks of broccoli in the mix. Of course, you can make it as smooth or chunky as you want. Be sure to have plenty of crusty bread around for sopping up the leftovers. You won’t want to waste a drop!
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 small or 2 large carrots, chopped small
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup half and half
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- Pinch nutmeg
- Fresh black pepper
- 2 large broccoli heads, florets and stems chopped (About 4 cups total)
- 8 ounces (about 2 cups) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 (about 1/2 cup) ounces colby jack cheese, shredded
- Salt to taste
- Heat the olive oil and butter in heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and saute until softened, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the flour and stir to coat the veggies. Cook until golden, another 2 minutes or so. Slowly stir in the half and half. The mixture will be very thick.
- Add the chicken broth, nutmeg, and black pepper and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the soup is slightly thickened.
- Stir in the broccoli and cook for an additional 10-12 minutes or until broccoli is softened. Use an immersion blender or transfer the soup to a blender in batches to puree the soup to the desired consistency. I like to leave lots of yummy broccoli chunks, but that's just me.
- Return the soup to the pot (if needed) and stir in all but about ½ cup (or 2 ounces) of the cheddar cheese and all of the colby jack cheese. Stir until melted. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve with the remaining cheddar cheese for garnish and good, crusty bread.