A bowl of this creamy soup is sure to cure most anything that ails you on a cold and cloudy day. My daughter loves a bowlful any time of year, and I have to admit, it’s hard to resist. This thick, cheesy soup is inspired by Panera Bread Café, but this one’s vegetarian and just a bit lighter. It’s still rich, cheesy and, of course, full of fresh broccoli.
(Serves 6 or more)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3/4 cup half-and-half
- 1-1/4 cups milk
- 3-1/2 cups vegetable broth
- ½ pound broccoli, cut into large chunks and leaving some florets intact (about 3 cups)
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- ½ to ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Cook onion in one tablespoon butter or olive oil until translucent. Set aside.
- In a heavy soup kettle, melt remaining butter. Whisk in flour and cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, being careful to avoid scorching. Slowly whisk in half and half, then milk and broth being sure to whisk fully so no lumps are formed. Cook at low simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture has thickened slightly.
- Add the broccoli, carrots and onion and cook over low heat until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Using an immersion blender, loosely puree leaving some vegetable chunks. Or use a blender or food processor and blend about half the soup. Return puree to the pot with the remaining soup. Stir to combine.
- Keep pot on lowest heat and add cheese. Add ½ cup first and taste. If you feel the soup needs more cheese add the remaining ¼ cup.
- Stir in nutmeg and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Serve.