I was introduced to broccoli cheese soup at a Panera Bread when I lived in Wisconsin, and grew to really like it. It was perfect to cut the chill of a cold Wisconsin winter. It’s been many years since I’ve had this soup, and so recently I went to our local Panera Bread and ordered it, hoping to enjoy it once again. To my surprise, I was disappointed. The soup wasn’t how I remembered. I don’t want to be too critical, but there wasn’t much of a broccoli taste, the broccoli wasn’t visible, and the cheese seem a bit processed somehow. I also like soup with more of a punch. Maybe it’s just me that has changed.
Whatever the reason, I set off to make my own version of broccoli cheddar cheese soup. The first thing I do below is add more broccoli as well as onions, carrots, and celery. I use chunky broccoli for extra texture and color. I also used real cheddar cheese from Oregon’s Tillamook Dairy. This is very fresh high quality cheese and really adds zest and richness to the soup.
You can make this soup with a chicken base, but I actually like it better when made with a roasted garlic base. Using the latter also makes it vegetarian.
I have tried to specify just the right amount of cheese to make the soup wonderfully rich and creamy — without being too cheesy. My family thought this was the best broccoli cheese soup they’ve ever had. The soup was gone pretty fast in our house. I think it will be a winner in your house too!
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- 1 cup yellow onion, small diced
- 1 cup carrots, small diced
- 1 cup celery, small diced
- 1 cup peeled diced broccoli stem
- 1/2 tbsp. mince garlic
- 1 tsp. mustard powder
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 2 1/2 tbsp. chicken base or roasted garlic base
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- 4 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 cups broccoli floret, blanched (see instructions)
- 2 cups grated Tillamook cheddar cheese
- Extra cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded carrots
- Blanched broccoli
Bring 8 cups of water and 1/2 tbsp. salt to a rapid boil. Then, fill a large bowl with ice and cold water and set aside.
Carefully put the broccoli florets into the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. The broccoli should be just barely tender and bright green. Remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge into the ice water. When the broccoli is cool, drain it and set aside. Save 1/2 cup in a separate bowl for garnish.
Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add butter and oil. When the butter is melted add onion, carrots, celery, broccoli stem, and garlic. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring often until the vegetables are cooked. Add mustard, nutmeg, chicken (or roasted garlic base), salt, and pepper. Stir well and cook for another minutes.
Next, add the milk and cream. Stir and turn down the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, then whisk in cheddar cheese slowly, keep stirring until the cheese is melted. Turn down the heat to very low.
Use a hand held blender and puree the soup until very smooth. Cook for few more minutes until the soup thickens a bit. Fold in the blanch broccoli florets to the soup, making sure to leave some for garnish. Turn off the heat, then taste for seasoning.
Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with some reserved broccoli, shredded carrots, and extra cheese on top. You can serve this with some bread or soda crackers.
Did you make this dish? I’d love to know how it turns out! Feel free to like this post and comment or use the hashtag #globaldinein on Instagram. If you would to be notified of upcoming posts, please consider subscribing to my blog!