I have tried various combinations while making this soup, but when I made this last week, I think I hit close to perfection!! Of course that is for me and my family's taste preferences... I'll let you judge for yourself.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Steam 6 cups chopped broccoli until tender. (I used florets and the inside of the stalks - which are nice and tender after peeled). While steaming broccoli, boil 4 cups of chopped potatoes (I used red) until tender, drain.
In a blender puree 4 cups of the steamed broccoli, 1 can reduced sodium chicken broth (Use vegetable broth to make this a vegetarian dish), and the 4 cups of cooked potatoes. Reserve.
Chop the remaining 2 cups of broccoli to desired size (we like smaller chunks in our soup, so I chop them very fine.) Reserve.
In a large pan, saute 1/4 cup onion, chopped (I finely chopped the onion so there wouldn't be large chunks) in 2 Tbsp butter, add 2 large cloves of garlic, minced about 1 minute before onion is tender. Add 1 more Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp flour, 1 tsp black pepper, whisk for 1 minute. Slowly add 2 cups half and half, whisking until it starts to thicken. Add 1 more cup half and half as well as 2 cups milk (I used 2%). Stir in the pureed mixture, chopped broccoli and 4 cups grated cheddar cheese (use less cheese if using sharp, I used medium). Stir until cheese is melted. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally.
I added 2 tsp salt to the soup as well, but that is up to your taste buds ;).
We served this with Angel Rolls.