This soup is rich and creamy and luscious. It’s the perfect lunch on this frigid snow day and it’s easy to make, which is always a nice bonus. Choose your favorite cheeses, add your favorite broth, perhaps a dash of sriracha and call it your own. The broccoli is roasted and naturally that means I added Parmesan before roasting because the only thing that makes roasted broccoli better, is Parmesan. I added some thyme, a bay leaf, some bullion and minced garlic along with copious amounts of black pepper to suit my taste. I used a small array of sharp and mild easy melting cheeses (mostly cheddar to keep it classic with just a bit of provolone) to add a certain smooth tang that I love. I topped it with some large homemade seasoned croutons made from this bread which I recommend since it added a nice crunchy contrast to the creamy soup, but of course that’s optional. Adding some extra cheese on top would work as well.
Make it your own, finish up your Christmas shopping and stay warm out there.
Broccoli Cheese Soup
- 4 heads broccoli, cut into 1-inch florets
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 stick (4 ounces) butter
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 2 cubes vegetarian vegetable bullion (or chicken bullion if preferred)
- 1 small bay leaf
- Pinch nutmeg
- 3 cups grated cheese (your choice)
- water for thinning
Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Remove broccoli florets, cut in half, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and Parmesan cheese. Place on a baking sheet cut-side down and bake until the florets begin to crisp and turn slightly brown, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions garlic and thyme to the butter, cover pot loosely and allow to cook until onions are melted beyond soft but not yet caramelized. Sprinkle flour over onions. Stir briskly to combine and cook until the flour is absorbed and smells lightly toasted. Whisk in the milk and half-and half and drop in the bullion cubes and bay leaf. Add the nutmeg, then the broccoli, salt and black pepper to taste. Cover the pot and cut the heat to low. Simmer until the broccoli is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the cheese and allow to melt. Add water to thin broth if needed until desired consistency is reached ( I added about 1 cup of water). Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Remove bay leaf and serve the soup as is. Mash with a potato masher to break up the broccoli a bit, if desired, or transfer to a blender in two batches and purée completely.
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman