I was never a big fan of broccoli cheese soup before stumbling upon this rich, creamy, and easy Emeril Lagasse recipe. I love broccoli. I love cheese. And I love soups. But none of the versions I tried over the years held much appeal for me. Most were just too runny and bland. Emeril — no surprise here — starts his decadent soup from a rich onion and garlic infused roux, finishes it with heavy cream and loads of cheddar, and tops it off with toasty croutons.
I first gave this recipe a whirl last Christmas, as a first course dish for the big day-after-Christmas dinner my then-boyfriend (now-husband) and I cooked for his parents and kids. Everyone went nuts over it, even the kids. There were no leftovers.
But somehow I forgot about this fabulous soup. Until a couple weeks ago.
When the kids heard my husband and I discussing the holiday menu we had planned for the Saturday after Thanksgiving — our second Thanksgiving dinner, this one with my husbands’ parents — our 11-year-old son Hunter’s face lit up as he asked us if Granddad and Grandma Linda were visiting us for dinner. When we replied with a “yes”, Hunter exclaimed, “That means we get to have that soup again!” My husband I just kind of looked at each other, not sure exactly what “THAT soup” was. And then it hit me. The last time the kids’ grandparents came down for a big festive holiday family dinner — last Christmas — I had made this soup. And I hadn’t made it since then. So, naturally, Hunter associated homemade broccoli cheddar soup with his grandparents visiting.
We immediately added it to the Thanksgiving menu, and once again, the soup was a big hit. Once again, no leftovers.
When one of my girlfriends and I decided to spend a day off the next week scrapbooking and having lunch, I made the soup again, and she too was crazy about it.
So, this recipe is definitely a keeper. And I need to make it more often!
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 cup yellow onions or sliced leeks (white parts only, well rinsed)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- Pinch nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups chicken stock or canned, low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 (16-ounce) package frozen broccoli, thawed and separated
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1-1/4 cups shredded medium Cheddar
- Croutons, for garnish (we use store-bought ones)
- In a medium pot, melt the 3 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme cook, stirring, until fragrant, for 20 seconds. Add the flour and cook, stirring until the mixture is well blended and smells fragrant, 2 minutes. Slowly add the chicken stock, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook, stirring, until tender, for 10 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and puree with a hand-held immersion blender. (Alternatively, in batches, puree in a blender or food processor and return to the pot.)
- Add the cream and bring to bare simmer 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 ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle croutons over the top of the soup and serve immediately.
- Top with seasoned croutons.