Broccoli-Cheese Soup

This hearty spin on broccoli and cheese soup is perfect for the winter months. Semi-firm cheeses, like cheddar, Monterey Jack, and mozzarella can be a challenge to shred efficiently on a box grater, so for easier grating, start by letting your cheese sit 30 minutes in the freezer.

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2 tbsp Unsalted butter
2 lbs Broccoli (florets chopped into 1-inch pieces, stalks peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick)
1 Onion (chopped coarse)
2 Garlic cloves (minced)
1 (½ tsp) Dry mustard
pinch Cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
3-4 cups Water
¼ tsp Baking soda
2 cups Chicken broth
2 cups Baby spinach
¾ cup Cup sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
¾ cup Parmesan cheese (grated fine, plus extra for serving)
3 cups Butter croutons

Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add broccoli, onion, garlic, mustard, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 6 minutes. Add 1 cup water and baking soda. Bring to simmer, cover, and cook until broccoli is very soft, about 20 minutes, stirring once during cooking.

Add broth and 2 cups water 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.

Return soup to Dutch oven, place over medium heat and bring to simmer. Adjust consistency of soup with up to 1 cup water. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, top with butter croutons and extra Parmesan.

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