Sometimes I make a dish and realize that I'll never have to experiment with another version of the recipe again: the one I just made is the only one I need. This broccoli-cheddar soup is one such dish.
As a kid, I'd ladle out massive quantities of broccoli-cheddar soup when we went to buffets like Ponderosa (RIP, I guess) and I'd gratefully order it from chain restaurant menus when nothing else looked appealing. Even when made with the absolute worst cheese and broccoli, I'd still inhale the soup, recognizing that some versions were better than others, but loving each one. My palate has improved, but I'm still won over by simple flavors like sauteed garlic, tomato sauce, potatoes, and yes, broccoli and cheese.
This broccoli and cheese soup is a meal in itself. It manages to be both chunky and creamy. Instead of pureeing the broccoli into a green oblivion, we just gently mashed the broccoli with the potatoes, leaving whole florets in the soup.
This recipe stems from Dishing up Maine and contains a loving ode to potatoes at the bottom of the recipe page.
"I cook dinner every night. And no, we don't ever get tired of potatoes. I fix them all kinds of ways, many times a week. But I know I'm probably spoiled, because I get all my potatoes directly from farmers." -Carol Adams, potato farmer, Presque Isle, Maine
I'm not a potato farmer, but I am Irish--and I feel the exact same way about potatoes. The preparation, the variety, when it was harvested--none of it matters much; while I prefer some types to others, if you give me a potato, I'll eat it. And if you give me potatoes mixed with broccoli and cheese? I'll try to eat the whole pot!
Potato, Cheese, and Broccoli Soup
Recipe Source: Dishing up Maine
1 tablespoon of butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon of mustard
3 cups vegetable broth
4 cups peeled and diced all-purpose potatoes (we used Russets)
5 cups broccoli florets, coarsely chopped
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
salt & pepper
1) Melt the butter in a large soup pot or dutch oven. Add the onions and cook over medium heat until softened, 4-5 minutes. Stir in the mustard and cook for 30 seconds longer.
2) Add the broth and potatoes. Bring this to a boil before reducing the heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, until the potatoes are tender, roughly 15 minutes.
3) Using a slotted spoon to remove a cup of the potatoes to a plate or bowl. Mash these with a fork (or potato masher) and return them to the pot.
4) Add the broccoli and heavy cream and simmer gently until the broccoli is tender, 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
5) Add the cheese and nutmeg and stir until the cheese melts. Mash the broccoli in with a potato masher, if you desire a creamier consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!