Broccoli-Cheese Soup

Broccoli-Cheese Soup

This is my adaptation of a recipe by my favorite source, America's Test Kitchen. The soup starts with the premise of overcooking the broccoli to bring out all its flavor. I have updated a few quantities and added a little cream for richness.


  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 lbs broccoli, florets roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces, stems trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 medium onion roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tbsp)
  • 1 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • table salt
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 4 cups good chicken stock
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese shredded (1 1/2cups)
  • 2 oz parmesan cheese, grated fine (about1 cup), plus extra for serving
  • 1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream
  • ground pepper


  • Heat butter in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add broccoli, onion, garlic, dry mustard, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 6 minutes. Add 1 cup water and baking soda and bring to simmer. Cover and cook, adjusting heat to maintain simmer, until broccoli is very soft, about 20 minutes, stirring once during cooking.
    Add broth and increase heat to medium-high. When mixture begins to simmer, stir in spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Transfer half of soup to blender, add cheddar and Parmesan, and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer soup to medium bowl and repeat with remaining soup. Alternatively, blend soup with an immersion blender in the dutch oven. Add cream, if using, and rewarm blended soup over medium heat and bring to simmer. Adjust consistency of soup with up to 1 cup water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, passing extra Parmesan separately.
    This soup is absolutely delicious with or without the addition of the cream. You can make this vegetarian by replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock.


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