Creamy Broccoli and Cheese Soup

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Broccoli was stupid on sale the other day, and with a Panera opening up down the street, I was inspired to make Broccoli Soup. I find the Panera version a little too salty, and wanted to give homage to it, but not replicate it.

5 tbs of melted butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
5 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 large head of broccoli, including the stalks
1 cup carrot, shredded or chopped fine
8 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup cream cheese
salt and pepper
Ritz Crackers, optional (but really… never optional)

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In a 3- or 4-quart stockpot, melt the butter over low heat. Add the onions, celery and garlic, and cook until the onions are translucent, 3-4 minutes.

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Roughly chop the broccoli and stems and add to the pot.

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Add the chicken stock and stir. Cook for 10 minutes.

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Add the carrots. You want to add them part of the cook through so they don’t turn completely to mush and keep their bite.

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Add the heavy cream and milk. Stir completely. Add a pinch of salt and a couple grinds of black pepper. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

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Dice up your cheddar cheese into chunks or grate it. It is going to melt all the way through.

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At this point, I chose to blend the soup which I recommend. It is only blended part way, as I wanted some chunks of vegetables present. I used an Immersion Blender, but if you don’t have one, you can carefully ladle soup into a blender and do it that way.

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Once the soup is blended, add the cheese.

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Simmer on low until all the cheese is melted.

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Once the cheese is melted, you are done! Serve and enjoy with a good piece of bread or your favorite crackers.

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