Every home cook needs a good broccoli cheese soup recipe in their collection. And while there are a lot of good recipes out there, I have to admit that I have a problem with most of them. Because most of them call for making a roux or béchamel sauce in a separate pan AND THEN adding it to the bubbling pot of broccoli and broth to thicken up. That’s two dirty pots for one soup. I believe soup should be easier than this.
And this soup is kind of stupidly easy. It takes all of 20 minutes to make start to finish, it dirties exactly one pot, and it tastes better than ninety-nine percent of the restaurant versions I’ve tried.
I remove the need for an extra pan by using a flour slurry to thicken the soup instead of making a roux. Slurries thicken just as well in my opinion, and if you pass it through a little strainer on it’s way into the soup, there won’t be any lumping issues.
Also, you should know that while I like to use 100% sharp cheddar in my broccoli cheese, you can certainly feel free to mix your cheeses, use up whatever is in your fridge, or even add (gasp) American cheese if you want it to taste extra rich (and Panara-ey).
The Easiest One-Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup
makes 6-8 servings
-1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
-2-3 tablespoons butter
-2-3 carrots, diced small or coarsely grated
-1-2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
-6 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth), with 1/2 cup reserved for the slurry
-1 lb bag frozen broccoli
-6 tbsp flour
-1/4 tsp mustard powder
-pinch of cayenne pepper (or more if you’re feeling feisty)
-1/2 cup heavy cream (or you can omit the cream and replace 2 cups of broth with regular milk)
-1 8oz brick sharp cheddar cheese, grated
-salt and white or black pepper, to taste
1. In a large soup pot, sweat onion and carrot in butter over medium low heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
2. Add chicken broth and entire bag of broccoli. Simmer over medium heat until the broccoli is tender.
3. In a bowl with a whisk (or a small container with a lid) combine flour with reserved broth and whisk or shake until very, very well mixed (this is the slurry).
4. While the soup is bubbling, whisk the flour and broth into the soup. If the slurry is even a little bit lumpy, you can strain the slurry into the soup and prevent ending up with a lumpy soup. Stir in the slurry, bring the soup back to a bubble, and allow it to thicken for a couple of minutes. If you’d like your soup thicker, you can add another 1-2 tablespoons of flour using the same method (cold broth, mixed well, strained into the soup).
5. Add mustard powder, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste, keeping in mind that the cheese will add a bit of salt to the soup too.
6. Stir in your cream and let the soup come back up to a bubble, then turn off the heat.
7. A handful at a time, whisk in the shredded cheese (off the heat to prevent curdling the cheese) until the cheese is melted and the soup is smooth. Taste the soup and add salt, pepper, or cayenne as you like.