Broccoli Cheddar Soup
6 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup chopped onion (about half a large onion)
1/4 cup flour
2 cups Half-n-Half
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups fresh broccoli florets (about 2 small heads)
1 large carrot, diced (or about 6 baby carrots)
2 cups grated sharp and mild cheddar cheese (I used the Cracker Barrel brand- comes pre-shredded with both types of cheddar)
1. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
2. Add chopped onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Whisk in flour until completely combined, about 3 minutes. Gradually mix in half-n-half until smooth. Add chicken broth, bay leaf, nutmeg, salt, and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook uncovered about 15 minutes until thickened. Remove bay leaf.
4. Meanwhile chop broccoli and carrots.
5. Add broccoli and carrots to broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
6. Blend soup in batches until smooth and desired consistency is reached. (Don't fill your blender more than half way since it will cause a "soup explosion" due to the pressure from the steam.) You will still see flecks of broccoli and carrot. I like to blend some batches less than others so there are still some small pieces throughout, rather than puree the soup.
7. Return soup to Dutch oven and add cheese. Cook over medium heat until cheese is melted. Add up to 3/4 cup water if soup is too thick for your liking. Mine was perfect with just 1/3 cup water added. Ladle into bowls and garnish with more cheese if desired.