Bistro Broccoli Cheese Soup

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I can genuinely say that our Bistro Broccoli Cheese Soup stands out as the ultimate broccoli cheese soup; I truly mean it, this soup is exceptional! It surpasses Panera by a wide margin, and it’s incredibly simple to prepare!

It’s a one-pot marvel that we’ve elevated in flavor by sautéing the vegetables and then browning the flour to extract every bit of flavor. And did I mention how easy it is to make? It really is!

Bistro Broccoli Cheese Soup in large white bowls with grilled sourdough bread slices.

Unlocking Flavor: It’s all about maximizing flavor! Remember, where there’s no color, there’s no flavor. While boiling, poaching, and steaming have their roles in the kitchen, many dishes benefit from the extra step of developing rich color and aroma. This is where the magic of the Maillard reaction comes into play, elevating your dishes to the next level. Dive deeper into this culinary phenomenon here.

Bistro Broccoli Cheese Soup in large white bowls with grilled sourdough bread slices.

The History of Broccoli

Broccoli, a member of the cabbage family, has a rich history dating back to ancient Roman times. It is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean region, particularly in Italy. Initially, broccoli was cultivated for its edible flower heads, which resemble miniature trees.

Broccoli gained popularity across Europe during the 16th century and was later introduced to the United States by Italian immigrants in the early 20th century. It was initially cultivated in the Northeastern states but gradually spread across the country.

In the United States, broccoli gained significant popularity in the mid-20th century due to its nutritional value and versatility in cooking. Today, it is widely cultivated worldwide and consumed in various forms, including raw, steamed, roasted, or stir-fried. With its high content of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, broccoli remains a staple in many cuisines and a favorite among health-conscious consumers.

Close up of Bistro Broccoli Cheese Soup in large white bowl with grilled sourdough bread slices.

Some Fun Facts About Broccoli

  1. Nutritional Powerhouse: Broccoli is packed with essential nutrients such as vitamins C, K, and A, as well as fiber, folate, and potassium.
  2. Origins: Broccoli is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean region, particularly in Italy.
  3. Varieties: There are several varieties of broccoli, including Calabrese broccoli, sprouting broccoli, and broccoli rabe.
  4. Versatile Vegetable: Broccoli can be eaten raw or cooked and is commonly steamed, boiled, roasted, or stir-fried.
  5. Health Benefits: Consuming broccoli regularly may help support heart health, digestion, and immune function, and it may also reduce the risk of certain cancers.
  6. Antioxidant Properties: Broccoli contains antioxidants such as sulforaphane, which may help protect cells from damage caused by oxidative stress.
  7. Seasonality: Broccoli is a cool-season crop that thrives in temperatures between 18°C to 23°C (65°F to 75°F).
  8. Harvesting: Broccoli is harvested by cutting the central head when it reaches maturity. After the main head is harvested, side shoots will continue to develop and can be harvested over several weeks.
  9. Culinary Uses: Broccoli is a versatile ingredient in various dishes, including salads, stir-fries, soups, casseroles, and pasta dishes.
  10. Broccolini: Broccolini, also known as baby broccoli, is a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese broccoli. It has long, thin stems and small florets and is known for its mild, sweet flavor.

These facts highlight the nutritional value, culinary versatility, and interesting history of broccoli as a popular vegetable.

 

What to Serve with Broccoli Cheese Soup

  • Crusty bread or dinner rolls
  • Garlic bread or breadsticks
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Side salad with vinaigrette dressing
  • Steamed or roasted vegetables (such as carrots, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts)
  • Baked potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • Crackers or breadsticks for dipping
  • Croutons or toasted baguette slices
  • Cooked pasta or rice for a heartier meal
  • Sliced avocado or cherry tomatoes for garnish

These accompaniments complement the creamy texture and cheesy flavor of broccoli cheese soup, making for a satisfying and well-rounded meal.

A dripping spoonful of Bistro Broccoli Cheese Soup.

Safely Storing Broccoli Cheese Soup in the Refrigerator

To safely store broccoli cheese soup in the refrigerator and ensure it stays fresh, follow these steps:

  1. Allow the soup to cool completely before refrigerating. This helps prevent bacterial growth.
  2. Transfer the soup to an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag. Make sure the container is clean and sanitized.
  3. Seal the container tightly to prevent air from entering, which can cause the soup to spoil faster.
  4. Label the container with the date of preparation to keep track of its freshness.
  5. Place the container in the refrigerator as soon as possible, ideally within two hours of cooking.
  6. Store the soup in the coldest part of the refrigerator, typically the back of the shelves or the bottom shelf.
  7. Consume the broccoli cheese soup within 3 to 4 days for optimal freshness and flavor. Discard any leftovers that have been in the refrigerator for longer than this period to avoid the risk of foodborne illness.

By following these guidelines, you can safely store broccoli cheese soup in the refrigerator and enjoy it for several days while ensuring it stays fresh and safe to eat.

Can Broccoli Cheese Soup Be Frozen?

Yes, broccoli and cheese soup can be frozen. However, it’s important to note that dairy-based soups like this one can sometimes change in texture when frozen and then thawed. To freeze broccoli and cheese soup, allow it to cool completely before transferring it to airtight containers or freezer bags. Leave some space at the top of the container to account for expansion during freezing. When ready to eat, thaw the soup in the refrigerator overnight and reheat gently on the stovetop, stirring occasionally to ensure even heating.

How to Safely Freeze Broccoli Cheese Soup

  1. Allow the soup to cool completely in the refrigerator before freezing.
  2. Once cooled, transfer the soup to airtight freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.
  3. Leave some space at the top of the containers or bags to allow for expansion during freezing.
  4. Seal the containers or bags tightly to prevent freezer burn and odors from affecting the soup.
  5. Label each container or bag with the date of freezing for reference.
  6. Place the containers or bags in the freezer, ensuring they are placed on a flat surface to freeze evenly.
  7. When ready to use, thaw the soup in the refrigerator overnight.
  8. Reheat the thawed soup gently on the stovetop over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and ensure even heating.
  9. Once heated through, serve and enjoy your delicious Broccoli and Cheese Soup!

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Bistro Broccoli Cheese Soup in large white bowls with grilled sourdough bread slices.

How to Make Bistro Broccoli Cheese Soup

Bistro Broccoli Cheese Soup in large white bowls garnished with grilled sourdough bread.

Bistro Broccoli Cheese Soup

Our Bistro Broccoli Soup is the best broccoli cheese soup ever. I mean it this is one seriously good soup! It transcends Panera by leaps and bounds, plus it's so super easy to make! 
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Mean Green Chef

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled + diced
  • 3 large celery stalks, washed + sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 3 large carrots, peeled + julienned
  • 4 heads broccoli, cut into florets
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed + diced
  • 1/4 cup butter, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, unbleached
  • 1 pinch nutmeg, grated or ground
  • 4 cups chicken stock, sub vegetable stock if desired
  • 2 cups milk, whole or 2%
  • 2 cups half + half or heavy cream
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt + freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Heat a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the 2 Tablespoons of butter and heat for 30 seconds, then toss in the onions, celery, and carrots and cook for 2 minutes until the onions start to become translucent. 
    Julienned carrots, diced celery and onions for Bistro Broccoli Cheese Soup.
  • Add the broccoli florets, stir to combine. Sauté for an additional 3 minutes until vegetables become slightly tender and fragrant then toss in the garlic and cook an extra minute. Slide the Dutch oven off the heat and scoop out the vegetables into a large glass bowl, set aside. 
    Chopped up broccoli, carrots, garlic for Bistro Broccoli Cheese Soup.
  • Move the Dutch oven back over medium-high heat and melt the 1/4 cup of butter and then add the flour and nutmeg. 
    Flour being added to a large dutch oven to become a golden roux for Bistro Broccoli Cheese Soup.
  • Cook the mixture for 5 minutes, stirring frequently with a flat-bottomed wooden spoon until it begins to brown.
    Flour roux starting to turn golden brown for Bistro Broccoli Cheese Soup.
  • After 5 minutes have passed, then begin to add the stock slowly. Stir continuously until the flour and stock are thoroughly combined, next pour in the milk and cream and add the vegetables back into the pot. Cover and reduce heat to low, simmer for 20 minutes, or until you're happy with the tenderness of the broccoli. 
    Bistro Broccoli Cheese Soup being made in a large gray Dutch Oven.
  • Stir in cheese and allow it to melt, stirring regularly. 
    Bistro Broccoli Cheese Soup being made in a large gray Dutch Oven on the stove top.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Then either serve as is, or mash it with a potato masher to break up the broccoli a bit, or transfer to a blender in two batches and puree completely. If you puree it in a blender, return it to the heat and allow to warm back up. Add a splash of broth if needed to thin the soup to your desired consistency. 
    Bistro Broccoli Cheese Soup in large white bowls garnished with grilled sourdough bread.

Notes

  • Prep time is approximate. 
  • Store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge 3-4 days.  
  • Store leftovers in tightly sealed containers or heavy-duty Ziploc bags in the freezer up to 6 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight or on the countertop for 2 hours. 
  • To reheat, add to a heavy-bottomed pot and warm slowly over medium-low heat until heated through. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Savor the bold flavors of Mexico with our Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup. This vibrant dish combines tender chicken, hearty vegetables, and authentic Mexican spices, all simmered to perfection in a savory broth. Topped with crunchy tortilla strips, creamy avocado, and zesty lime, it’s a fiesta for your taste buds!

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Hey there, fellow food enthusiast! Welcome to Mean Green Chef, where every dish tells a story and every recipe is a labor of love. I’m thrilled to share a bit about myself and the journey that led me here, stirring pots and sprinkling spices for over three decades!

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    Join the Conversation

    1. I love a good broccoli cheese soup and this one looks delicious. Love your toast fingers too. 😉 Thank you for sharing it with Souper Sundays this week.

      1. So glad that you liked it, Deb! 🙂

    2. Broccoli cheese soup is one of my favorites! We love to keep the bigger chunks of broccoli in there too! This looks amazing. I can’t wait to try it out soon!

      1. Thanks, Kendra! It’s so easy, delish and perfect for fall and winter dinners! Please be sure to share your results with us 🙂

    3. I love broccoli soup and this one DOES look above-average. Your approach of sauteing the veggies appeals to me… I think it’s such a shame when the broccoli is boiled to death! Looking forward to giving this a try.

      1. Thanks, Kristina, we do shoot for above-average recipes! 🙂

    4. Cheese is about the only way to get my fiancé to consider soup a meal! He will love this!

      1. Lol, Kari, I met my husband in the cheese section at the local market so I get it! 🙂

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