Redemption. Who knew it tasted of cheddar cheese? After my failed attempt to whip up a quick broccoli cheddar soup in my cooking class last week (as documented here), I was determined to redeem myself. No bland soup would be served in my house. I was looking for flavor, depth, and subtle complexity wrapped in creamy-cheesy goodness. Thankfully, I found it.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup2 strips bacon, diced 3 TBSP butter
1 onion, diced 1 carrot, small dice 3 cloves garlic, smashed 4 cups broccoli florets and stems, roughly chopped (about 1 large head of broccoli)
2 1/2 cups chicken stock (ideally homemade)
2 TBSP flour 2 cups cream or half & half, or combo of both
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I recommend a mix of Wisconsin and sharp white) Salt and pepper
In a large pot, over medium heat, saute the bacon until browned. Remove the bacon, setting aside for later, and drain off most of the bacon fat. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter, add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and sweat for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots, cook another 5 minutes. Add the broccoli, cook 5 more minutes. Return the bacon to the pot and pour in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 30 minutes.
While the vegetables are simmering, prepare a Mornay sauce with the cream and cheese. First make a roux in a medium sauce pan. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and, once the butter bubbles over, add the remaining 2 tablespoons flour. Whisk until smooth and cook to a light golden brown color, about 2-3 minutes. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Stir often and simmer until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3-5 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Once the vegetables have finished simmering, use a blender to puree the mixture, working in batches if necessary. Return the puree back to the pot and, over low heat, combine with the Mornay sauce, stirring until fully incorporated. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly.