Creamy Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Chowder is comfort food at its finest…made from scratch quickly and easily in 30 minutes.
This sublime warming soup is made with lots of fresh broccoli (no frozen mushy stuff, please), yukon gold potatoes, and sweet onion. There’s a light creamy broth, a good amount of sharp cheddar cheese, and a few special ingredients that, at least for me, make it a personal favorite. It’s patterned after my beloved Corn and Cheddar Cheese Chowder.
This Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Chowder is a quick soup that can be ready in 30 minutes, if you’re organized. I saute chopped onions in butter for several minutes, and then stir in flour to make a roux. I add the first of the secret ingredients ~ white wine ~ to the pan and then some half and half. While this is going on, the chopped broccoli gets a splash of water and 3 minutes in the microwave ~ it comes out perfectly tender but not mushy. I briefly boil chopped Yukon gold potatoes with a bay leaf, cumin seeds, and ground sage, three more of my secret ingredients. The flavor combination is unique and wonderful.
TIP: Don’t throw away the broccoli stems, they’re delicious. I chop them up and saute them with the onions.
Once everything is combined I add the last secret ingredient, a good sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg. The flavor is subtle but sets off the creamy soup perfectly. I pull the pan off the heat and whisk in the cheese to finish it off.
TIP: Which cheese to choose? You can use white or yellow cheddar, sharp or mild. I like to use fully flavored aged cheddar, but it doesn’t melt as smoothly as a milder cheese…you’ll need to decide whether flavor or texture is more important to you.
TIP: This soup actually improves overnight, but you have to reheat it gently so you don’t curdle the cheese. Set it, covered, on the stove over super low heat and stir it every so often while it comes up to temperature. Don’t rush it.
- 1 lb broccoli, chopped into 1/2 pieces, florets, and stems
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 1 lb Yukon gold potatoes, washed and diced (don't peel)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp flour
- a splash (1/4 cup) white wine
- 1 1/2 cups half and half
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
- 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese plus more for garnish
- Put the broccoli florets (not the stems) in a microwave safe bowl and add 3 tablespoons of water. Cover and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Set aside
- Melt the butter in a stock pot and saute the onions and chopped broccoli stems for about 7 minutes until softened but not browned.
- Meanwhile put the potatoes, bay leaves, cumin seeds and sage in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender, about 6-8 minutes. Don't over cook them.
- Add the flour to the onions and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add the wine to the pan and stir to combine everything. Stir in the half and half and chicken stock. Add the potatoes and 1 1/2 cups of their cooking water, along with the broccoli.
- Bring everything up to a simmer and cook gently for about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove from heat and slowly stir in the cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and the soup is smooth.
- Ladle into bowls and serve with some additional cheese for garnish.
- If you love creamy chowders, you will probably also love my Shrimp Bisque. It has a wonderful flavor because I made the stock using the shrimp shells.
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