1 tablespoon + 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 small yellow onion, diced small (I grate mine)
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced finely
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
2 cups half-and-half
2 to 3 cups broccoli florets, diced into bite-size pieces (I used a bag of prewashed broccoli florets and steamed in the microwave to cut down on cook time)
1-2 carrots, grated
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika or regular paprika
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
pinch cayenne pepper
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese, with a small amount reserved for garnishing bowls
- In a small saucepan, add 1 tablespoon butter, the diced onion, and sauté over medium heat until the onion is translucent and barely browned, about 4 minutes. Stir intermittently.
- Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. Remove from heat and set pan aside. (I just sauteed my grated onion and garlic for a minute or so, then added more butter to start the roux)
- In a large heavy-bottom pot add 4 tablespoons butter, flour, and cook over medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until flour is thickened.
- Slowly add the vegetable stock, whisking constantly.
- Slowly add the half-and-half, whisking constantly.
- Allow mixture to simmer over low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened some. Whisk intermittently to re-incorporate the ‘skin’ that inevitably forms, this is normal.
- After simmering 15 to 20 minutes, add the broccoli, carrots, and the onion and garlic you previously set aside.
- Add the salt, pepper, optional paprika, optional dry mustard powder, and optional cayenne. If you don’t have these seasonings on hand, it’s okay, but they do add subtle depth of flavor. Stir to combine.
- Allow soup to simmer over low heat for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened some. Whisk intermittently to re-incorporate the ‘skin’ that inevitably forms, this is normal. (if you steam the broccoli, you don’t have to cook it this long)
- After simmering about 20 to 25 minutes, add most of the cheese, reserving a small amount for garnishing bowls. Stir in the cheese until melted and incorporated fully, less than 1 minute.
- Transfer soup to bowls, garnish with reserved cheese, and serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from the following recipe/site: