Confess! You justify a Broccoli and Cheddar soup by boosting its starring vegetable role with its anti-oxidant and health aiding qualities! Ok, ok, so it may not be like eating a head of the raw hearty veggie, but it is a long-time classic. One of my culinary goals for the year has been to up my soup skills. By bringing this favorite into the kitchen I knocked it out of the park, and you can too! Here’s my recipe for Roasted Broccoli Cheddar Soup.
5 TBS unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
2 TBS flour
2 cups half-and-half
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Salt and Pepper
Warmed or toasted bread (I like sour dough the best!)
4 cups broccoli florets
1 large carrot, diced
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss broccoli, carrots and whole, peeled garlic cloves in EVOO, salt, and pepper. Bake on a large sheet pan until bright green and fragrant, about 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt half of the butter and a drizzle of EVOO in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
Whisk the flour and remaining butter (melt a few seconds in the microwave if necessary) together in a small bowl, add to the onions, and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Then slowly whisk in the half-and-half until smooth. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves and nutmeg, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
Add the roasted broccoli mixture to the broth mixture, cover, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5-10 more minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Puree the soup in batches with an immersion blender.
Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until melted. Add water if the soup is too thick. Serve with bread toasts and garnish with extra cheddar.
(*Note: I have seen a lot of “lighter” versions of broccoli and cheese soup. While we eat it so seldom we splurge on the cheesy, creamy recipe, replacing the half-and-half with a mix of blended and cooked brown rice and 2% milk with leave you with the same rich texture. Go lighter on the cheese and make it non-fat for an easy alternative!)
Roasting the vegetables before finishing their cooking in the pot adds depth of flavor and a slow-cooked feel to this soup. Making a big batch allows for leftovers which freeze and re-heat easily for a quick weeknight meal and after talking with my husband over our bowls, we discover adding pasta and using it as a sauce would be killer as well! Hope you enjoy this warming hearty dish in what’s (hopefully!) our last few weeks of winter in the Northeast!
Stephanie a.k.a. The Foodetarian