This recipe for Creamy Broccoli-Cheddar Soup is one of my standby dishes, an easy soup that makes everyone in my family happy and tastes like autumn itself. The method is simple: Cook leeks in olive oil and butter, add flour, carrots, and broccoli, then add the stock and simmer until the vegetables are tender. Purée until smooth, then finish with a bit of light cream, Cheddar cheese, and nutmeg. That’s about 40 minutes start to finish, but the soup tastes even better the next day.
Note: Some people like to set aside some broccoli florets to stir into the soup after it is puréed. It’s a nice option if you want to go to the trouble, but I enjoy it just as much in its smooth, creamy state.
Creamy Broccoli-Cheddar Soup
Total time: 45 minutes; hands-on time: 25 minutes
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 leeks, white parts only, cleaned and sliced into thin half-moons
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
- 5 cups chopped broccoli, stalks and florets (from 2 medium heads)
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth or stock
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup light cream
- 8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- Garnish: Parsley leaves, red chile flakes (optional)
1. In a large soup pot, melt the butter in the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and the salt and cook, stirring often, until the leeks begin to darken at the edges, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring often, 2 minutes, then add the carrots and broccoli and stir well. Add the broth and the water and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
2. Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender until smooth, then return to the pot over low heat. Stir in the cheese, a handful at a time, add the nutmeg, and stir until smooth. Serve hot, garnished with parsley and red chile flakes, if you like a bit of spice.