Ok. Two things you must know about me. 1. I adore soup. 2. Broccoli Cheddar soup is my absolute favorite. Absolute. Favorite. It is what I always order at Panera. Always. For the past couple of years, I have tried several different versions of this delectable liquid food, and have come face-to-face with pot after pot of disappointment. Too watery. Not cheesey enough. Veggies not tender enough. Too many steps. Too many ingredients. Yada Yada.
And then.....voila! I found a keeper on a favorite food blog that I follow. Annie's Eats has yet to disappoint me in the recipe department. Her Broccoli Cheddar soup is perfect...tender veggies, balanced flavors, and the perfect amount of cheddar. A couple of changes that I have made however, is to add more broccoli, which then requires an additional cup of chicken stock, and I never measure my shredded cheddar cheese--I practically just upend the entire package into the thickened milk. I mean, really....can Broccoli Cheddar soup be too cheddar-y? I'm thinking not.
So, I give you lots of love....
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
6 tbl. butter, divided
3/4 cup onion, chopped
1 cup carrot, chopped or shredded
4 cups small broccoli florets
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp. onion salt (I use onion powder)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
4 tbs. flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
freshly ground black pepper
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add the chopped onion. Sautee until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the carrots and cook a couple minutes more. Stir in the broccoli, chicken broth, onion salt/powder, and garlic powder. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining butter (4 tbl.). Add the flour, whisking smooth, to create a roux. Whisk in the milk and cook until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Once thickened, add the cheese and off the heat. Stir cheese sauce until smooth. Stir into the large soup pot. Allow to gently simmer until heated through and broccoli is tender. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. (If desired, puree the soup with an immersion blender for a smooth texture. I personally like this soup a bit chunky.)