I wanted to find a good broccoli & cheddar soup recipe because our CSA delivery included a huge bunch of floppy broccoli, and I couldn’t figure out another way to eat it without the floppiness bugging me. I found some recipes online claiming to be copies of Panera Bread’s famous Broccoli Cheddar soup, so I took the best one and tweaked it to my liking. The result was incredible and I have so many people asking me about it, I figured maybe I should give it to the Internet. Fly, little recipe, fly!
Awesome BroccoCheddar Soup:
1/2 large onion, diced
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
2 cups chicken stock (or veg broth)
1 pound fresh broccoli, chopped to bits (use stems too)
1 cup carrots, julienned
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar
salt and pepper to taste
Saute onion in a pat of butter. Set aside, because it’s easier to make a roux without onions in the way. Melt the butter in your pot and stir in flour using a whisk. Keep whisking over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until you have a lovely paste. Stir constantly and slowly add the milk, then the chicken/veg stock, whisking like crazy. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender, about 15 minutes if you’ve cut the pieces pretty small. Test tenderness with a fork. Puree using a stick blender, or use a regular blender, in batches. Return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended. Serve with crusty baguette, or don’t bother making this soup at all. :p
The best thing about this recipe is that it’s super flexible. Keep some extra milk/broth nearby in case you decide it’s too thick when you’re done. The second time I made it I had more broccoli so I used it all, and needed to add some more liquid after the veg-cooking phase. I tried using half sharp cheddar and half lowfat cheddar, and I recommend against it. the lowfat stuff doesn’t melt worth a damn and you get weird stringy cheese bits. Still tasty but looks funny. I also recommend adding more carrots, but until I get a mandoline slicer I’m julienning by hand and that’s bloody tedious. I suppose you could go to a salad bar and get a bunch of pre-shredded carrot to make your life easier.