Broccoli and cheese soup has long been a staple on my fall and winter menu, but my recipe has evolved over the years. The first version I learned from my mom; besides fresh broccoli and sharp Cheddar cheese, it was simply seasoned with a bit of oregano. Once I began making it in my own kitchen, I jazzed it up (as Mom would say) with extra-sharp Cheddar and a little mustard and lemon juice, and when I began to successfully grow broccoli in my own garden, I created a freezer-based version of the jazzed-up recipe. Once I fell for grilled broccoli, I began grilling instead of steam-blanching it for even more flavor in the soup pot.
My latest rendition of a broccoli and cheese soup, which I share this week in my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon, returns to fresh, lightly sautéed vegetables for just a touch of the roasted flavor. This is the way I make the soup with the last of the season’s broccoli, and it’s my preferred recipe for fresh store-bought broccoli. I’ve made one more ingredient addition, potato, for a thicker, chowder-like texture.
Learn more about making soup with homemade stock and get the complete recipe for Fresh Broccoli and Cheddar Soup in my column.
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Twice as Tasty
When you’re making this week’s recipe, a few of these tips and tricks may come in handy:
- For the full Twice as Tasty experience, use Homemade Vegetable Stock and Spicy German-Style Mustard, as well as home-dried oregano. If you’re not there yet, just use your favorite store-bought versions. Check for minimal sodium in the stock and grab a little oregano from a bulk spice container for the best results.
- While making the cheese sauce seems like an extra step, I’ve had issues with the cheese separating and leaving an oily residue on the soup’s surface if I just toss grated handfuls into the pot, especially if I substitute a milder cheese. I’ve also seen more separation if I freeze the soup for a later meal.
- If you freeze broccoli to make this soup later, be sure to steam-blanch or grill it first. The year I froze raw broccoli, I had to throw it all out because it tasted woody and bitter. Even cooking it on the grill, rather than the traditional blanching before freezing, solved the problem.
- If you’re grilling broccoli for this soup, you can grill the onion too; it also freezes well when cooked this way. To save time, I typically leave out the potato if I’ve already grilled the onion and broccoli, but you can stir in baked or mashed potato if you have leftovers in the fridge.
- The fully made soup freezes well but can be quite thick as it reheats. I heat it slowly and stir it often to keep it from splattering or sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
Broccoli is delicious in many other soups, including Italian Broccoli–Pasta Soup. You can find more soup recipes in the recipe index.
Want more Twice as Tasty recipes? Get my books! Click here to order a personally signed, packaged, and shipped copy of The Complete Guide to Pickling directly from me. I also share tasty ways to use pickles in The Pickled Picnic; it’s only available here.