This decadent Broccoli Cheese Soup reminds me of the version from Panera Bread, but SO much better! The texture is silkier, and the cheddar flavor shines.
I remember first trying broccoli cheese soup in a bread bowl years ago at the Renaissance Festival in Maryland. It was comfort food bliss. That may have been the moment when I first truly realized the magic of soup. You can dunk bread in soup whenever, but digging into the hot, soupy center of a crunchy sourdough loaf and then scraping into the gooey sides until it’s time to rip apart the outer crust… yes please.
As much as I covet the bread bowl, I save it for very special occasions. If I want to treat myself, I’d much rather make a homemade cheddar broccoli soup. It’s wonderful. And it’s very easy. When Donna and Chad Elick from The Slow Roasted Italian kindly sent me a copy of their new cookbook, The Simple Kitchen, I knew immediately that I wanted to try their cheesy broccoli soup recipe.
It’s amazing how quickly it comes together, in just 30 minutes. That’s what truly stands out to me about this cookbook. In addition to being full of mouth-watering comfort food options that are begging to be tried, everything looks so easy and fast. I could use more of that in my life right now, as the rush of the holiday season overwhelms me.
Some other recipes on my “to make” list include Jalapeño Cheddar Pretzel Twists, Home-Style Chicken and Biscuits, Stacked Cantina Nachos, and the Milk and Honey Dinner Rolls. I highly recommend grabbing a copy of this book! Next time I make this soup, it MIGHT just be going into a bread bowl.
This Cheesy Broccoli Soup recipe reminds me of the version from Panera Bread, but SO much better! The cheddar flavor shines.
- 2 ounces unsalted butter
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 cup diced carrot
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock (use vegetable stock for a vegetarian soup)
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 2 cups roughly chopped broccoli florets (see notes)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
- 4 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese (see notes)
- Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrots, and cook until the onions are translucent (approximately 5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30-60 seconds. Add the flour and stir to coat. Continue cooking for approximately 3 minutes, stirring periodically, to cook out the flour taste.
- Stir in 1 teaspoon of salt, the stock and half-and-half. Bring to a simmer and cook until the soup has thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the broccoli and simmer until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Add 1 teaspoon of pepper and sprinkle in cheese by the handful, stirring. Allow the cheese to melt before adding more. (Note: it’s important to do this off the burner, since too much heat can cause cheese to separate and become gritty). Taste for seasoning and add the remaining salt and pepper if desired.
Broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables, so the one change I made to the original recipe was to double the amount of broccoli used, totaling 4 cups.
Freshly grated cheese will definitely offer the best flavor. However, 4 cups takes a long time to grate by hand. I highly recommend using the grater attachment on a food processor, if you have one.
Reheat this soup low and slow on the stovetop, stirring frequently. If you heat it too quickly, the cheese might separate.
Shared with permission from The Simple Kitchen, by Chad and Donna Elick.