This week marked the first day of Fall, and that gets me thinking of making hearty, stick to your bones, easy soups. Broccoli cheddar soup is one of my youngest daughter’s favorites; but with the amount of cream and butter in most recipes, it is often less than healthy. This lighter version uses less butter, replaces the cream with milk, and swaps out some of the dairy with low-fat, low calorie chicken or vegetable broth. But make no mistake about it – this soup has all the yummy, cheesy, broccoli-y goodness of the heavier, fattier version. In fact, my daughter said this might be her favorite cheddar broccoli soup. (And she has tried a lot of cheddar broccoli soup!) So dust off the big soup pot and get ready to get cheesy!
Sweat out onions and melted butter, then add flour. Let it reach a light golden brown before adding the milk.
Let the soup thicken under a low simmer. Be careful not to let it get to a rapid boil. Your milk will curdle, forming small, grainy balls. Yuck! If this gets away from you and you end up in the situation, try combining some cornstarch with warm water and adding it to the soup. This will help smooth it out.
Be sure to remove the bay leaves before mashing the soup!
Add in the cheddar cheese and let it melt. Serve up the cheesy goodness!
- 4 TBSP butter
- 1 small onion, diced
- ⅓ cup rice flour
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups milk
- 1 pound frozen broccoli
- 8 slices extra sharp cheese, torn into small pieces (or 2 cups shredded)
- 2 bay leaves
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Cook butter and onion in a large pot. Add 1 tsp of salt. Cook until the onions are soft, 4-5 minutes. Stir in ⅓ cup rice flour. Cook 3-4 minutes, until flour starts to brown. Slowly whisk in milk. Mixture should be smooth.
- Add broth, frozen broccoli, ½ tsp black pepper, nutmeg, and 2 bay leaves. Bring to low simmer. (Be careful not to let it come to a rapid boil. Otherwise, the milk will curdle.) Let reduce about 20 minutes, until mixture is thickened. Remove bay leaves. Taste and adjust salt. Add a pinch, if needed.
- With an immersion blender or potato masher, break up and blend in broccoli and onion pieces. Add cheddar cheese. Keep soup on low until cheese is melted. Taste and adjust salt. It's so cheesy!