I chose to double this first attempt (what’s listed below is the original recipe) because it was for dinner and because virtually everything I’ve ever tried from Smitten Kitchen works out brilliantly. We were all so glad that I did! This is the only broccoli cheddar soup recipe you’ll ever need – enjoy!
4 T. butter
1 small onion, chopped AND 1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 c. flour AND 1 c. half and half
4+ c. good chicken broth
1 bay leaf AND kosher salt AND freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 lbs. broccoli, chopped small (~4 cups) – weigh this, it’s more than you think!
1 large carrot, chopped small (~1 cup)
8 oz. grated old cheddar (~2 1/2 cups)
extra grated cheese and tiny chopped broccoli for garnish
Melt the butter in a large, heavy pot over medium heat, add in the onion and garlic and cook while stirring for a few minutes until the onion has softened. Stir in the flour and cook and stir until it starts to brown a titch, then gradually whisk in the half and half until smooth. Add in the broth, bay leaf, and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper and bring it all to a boil while whisking. Reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes until it has thickened up a little bit.
Add in the broccoli and carrot and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes or so until the vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaf and taste for seasonings remembering that the cheese still has to go in and will add some saltiness. Turn off the heat and puree the soup as you would – I find an immersion blender easiest, plus I like to have some broccoli chunks still visible.
Put the pot back onto the heat and stir in the cheese until melted and the soup is piping hot. Serve in bowls, garnish as you wish, and if you’d like a perfectly dreamy dinner then serve with some fresh bread.