Having a kid in high school is kicking my butt. It seems like the “busy factor” in our lives has increased ten-fold ever since 9th grade began. On the other hand, I encouraged him wholeheartedly to get involved in as many things as possible. Amazingly, he listened and now I am his personal chauffeur. It’s okay though, he’s loving it and that’s all you really want for your kids.
However, all this running around has made dinnertime a little crazy. We don’t often eat together and I need meals that warm up easily and don’t take forever to put together. Since the weather is a bit cooler, soups, especially this Kicked Up Broccoli-Cheese version has definitely been on the menu.
And while I have always loved broccoli-cheese soup, it can be a bit bland. I was looking to increase the spice of the dish without having to add a bunch of ingredients. I decided to use pepper jack cheese to give it the zing I was looking to create.
Do you serve soup as a main meal in your household? During the cooler months they are definitely a mainstay for us. And for the most part they are very easy to make.
I am also not a fan of totally pureed broccoli-cheese soup. I love the texture of pieces of broccoli left intact. I only use a potato masher to break up the really large pieces into smaller ones. It also means less cleanup as I don’t have to get my blender out.
When I serve soup, I like to have crusty bread available. There is nothing better than dunking in a piece of warm bread into a cream-based soup. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
I promise you will love my “kicked up” version. It’s an easy weeknight meal to throw together. I have found everyone wants a second bowl of this soup and I am always happy to oblige that request.
Kicked Up Broccoli-Cheese Soup
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 4 large shallots, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk
- 2 cups chicken stock (has more flavor than broth)
- 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 heaping cups broccoli florets
- 24 oz shredded pepper jack cheese
- 8 oz shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, more for sprinkling on top
- 1 Tablespoon finely ground black pepper
- sliced green onion for garnish
- In a large, heavy bottomed pot (I used a 7 quart Dutch Oven), melt butter over low heat. Add shallots and saute until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic, sauteing for 1 minute more, still over low heat.
- Add flour and whisk in until fully incorporated. Slowly pour in milk, whisking away any lumps. Add chicken stock, cream and nutmeg, stirring until fully combined. Add broccoli. Cook for about 20-30 minutes or until broccoli is softened. Stir several times during cooking process so bottom of pan does not burn. Continue to cook over low heat. Once broccoli is softened, use a potato masher to mash the broccoli into smaller pieces. Add pepper jack and cheddar, stirring until melted. Stir in black pepper. Serve immediately.
Other easy, weeknight soups you might enjoy:
Mashed Potato Cheese Soup
Dill Pickle Soup
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Sausage Tortellini Soup
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