My boys love broccoli-cheese soup at restaurants so I found a way to incorporate more veggies into an already delicious cream soup.
2 Tbsp. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half and half
1 bay leaf
dash ground nutmeg
2 cups water
32 oz. vegetable stock
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 head broccoli, chopped, no stems
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped, no stems
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cups grated cheddar cheese
dash hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste
croutons for garnish
In a large soup pot bring vegetable broth and water to a boil. Add onion, broccoli, cauliflower and celery and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic, stir for about one minute. Add flour and stir for three minutes until rue forms and darkens slightly. Whisk in half and half. Add bay leaf and nutmeg. Cook on low five minutes. Remove bay leaf. Pour milk mixture into broth and vegetable pot.
Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. If using an upright blender, puree in batches and be careful when blending hot ingredients! Always cover lid with a towel to protect from spills.
Add cheese and stir until completely melted. Stir in hot sauce and salt and pepper to taste.
Top bowls with croutons when serving.