Mother nature has been teasing us this spring. A couple of weeks ago my roommate and I were sweating our butts off at a St. Patrick’s Day parade (I wasn’t complaining), but last week it was back to cooler temperatures. And this week it’s going to be in the eighties again. I suppose it was nice to feel like we got a true taste of spring weather rather than going straight from winter to summer, which is often the case where we live. Cooler weather meant that we could still enjoy a few bowls of soup before the heat arrived, and this broccoli cheddar from Emeril is one of our favorites. I’ve found his recipes to be very reliable in the past, so I was pretty sure I could trust this one, too.
If you’re looking for a “lighter” version of a cream of vegetable soup, then I’m definitely not your gal today. This is pure decadence. But I encourage you to enjoy every spoonful of rich cream, tangy cheddar cheese, and melted butter and not feel bad about it at all. Why? Because there is actually a generous amount of broccoli in this dish, making it beautifully deep green and very intensely flavored. It’s almost seems like you’re eating a thick vegetable puree that’s been very well dressed up. I’ll occasionally leave this slightly chunky for some texture, but more often I like to blend it into oblivion for a silky smooth bowl of comfort. This soup is easy enough to throw together on a weeknight (even easier now that I have a stick blender, woot!), and we like it with a slice of warm, crusty bread.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Source: Adapted from Emeril Lagasse
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound broccoli florets, washed and trimmed or one 16-ounce bag of frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
In a medium sized pot, melt the 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the onions, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Slowly add the chicken stock to the pot, whisking constantly, and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook until very tender, for 10 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and puree the soup with a hand-held immersion blender. (Alternatively, carefully puree it in batches in a blender or food processor and return to the pot.)
With the pot over low heat, add the cream and bring the soup to a bare simmer just to heat through. Add the cheese and cook over low heat, stirring, until melted. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons cold butter, stirring to blend.
Remove from the heat and serve.