Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Soup

serves 6-8

9 Tablespoons (4 1/2-ounces) unsalted butter

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 medium stalks celery, diced

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

6 cups chicken stock

1 large Yukon Gold potato (about 12-ounces) peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch dice

3 cups chopped broccoli florets

1 1/2 cup half-and-half

12 ounces aged white Cheddar cheese, grated

1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cayenne Pepper to taste

In a large stock pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook until tender, but not browned, about 8-10 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, another 1-2 minutes.  Sprinkle the flour over the vegetable mixture and cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes more.  Slowly whisk in the chicken stock. Whisking constantly, bring the soup to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 25 minutes.  Add the potato and broccoli and cook for another 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. 

Add the half-and-half, cheese, and mustard. (Do not let the mixture come to a boil.)  Stir until the cheese is completely melted.  Season with the Worcestershire, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Serve with cayenne pepper and crusty bread.  Enjoy!

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