This outstanding broccoli-cheddar soup is rich, cheesy and packed with flavor. We decided to puree just over half the soup which makes it extra thick and creamy, and left the remainder chunky so there are broccoli bits in every bite. Gild the lily with more shredded cheese on top to satisfy your comfort food craving.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually whisk in the half-and-half until smooth. Add the chicken broth, broccoli, bay leaves, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt and few grinds of black pepper Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the broth has thickened and the broccoli is very tender, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prick the potato all over with a fork and put on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high until tender, flipping halfway through, about 6 minutes. Let cool, then peel. Use a fork or potato masher to mash until crumbly.
Reserve 2 cups of the soup in a liquid measuring cup and discard the bay leaves. Let the remaining hot soup cool for 5 minutes or so, then transfer it to a blender, filling no more than halfway. Add the mashed potato. Remove the center cap from the lid and place it on the blender. Cover the lid with a folded kitchen towel to catch splatters, and pulse until very smooth.
Stir the pureed soup and reserved 2 cups of soup back into the pot. Whisk in the cheese until melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into serving bowls and top with more shredded Cheddar.
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