I made this soup last night, and even my resident Broccoli Cheese connaisseur said it was wonderful. Because it didn't look like that much to me, I added a fourth cup of chicken broth to the recipe and it still produced a nice thick soup.
This is an Emeril creation. Usually I avoid Emeril recipes because the ingredients exceed my budget and it's usually a big process. This recipe, however, is exquisitely simply and just delicious. It was great to welcome Autumn with a nice hot bowl. His recipe called for medium cheddar. I, personally, love a strong cheddar flavor so I used New York Extra Sharp. If you are not a cheesy kind of person then simply use a medium.
Also, remember, when working with leeks, always slice them first THEN rinse them in a collander under cold water. More so than almost any vegetable, leeks hide dirt and sand better than a chocoholic hides candy bars. So beware. Buon appetito!
-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)
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
-1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
-1/2 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
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1 1/4 cups shredded New York Extra Sharp Cheddar
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.