4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 quarts chicken broth

1 ¼ pounds broccoli, stalks and florets separated and chopped

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 to 2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce

1 bay leaf

¼ teaspoon powdered mustard

Generous pinch cayenne pepper

8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

Heat a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the butter and onion and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Stir in the flour. Stir in the broth and add the broccoli stalks, Worcestershire, Tabasco, bay leaf, mustard, and cayenne. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 16 to 18 minutes, or until the stalks are tender. Discard the bay leaf, remove from the heat, and puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Return to the heat and add the broccoli florets. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for another 7 to 8 minutes, or until the florets are tender. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the cheddar, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately.

 

Serves 6. Feel free to substitute vegetable broth or water if you prefer a vegetarian soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender but remember: never fill a blender more than half way with hot liquid. This means you will need to blend the soup in batches and reheat it before adding the broccoli florets. Do not boil the soup once the cheddar has been added, or it will have a grainy texture.