Cream of Broccoli Soup (with Cheese!)

Source: Martha Stewart
adapted by http://theresalwaysthyme.blogspot.com

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock, plus more as needed
1 large head broccoli (about 1 3/4 pounds), trimmed and cut into florets; peel and cut stems into pieces or you can just buy a bag of florets
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
big pinch fresh ground nutmeg
pinch or more of cayenne pepper
1 1/4 cups of grated cheddar cheese, save 1/4 cup to sprinkle on top of soup in the bowl
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
croutons, for garnish (optional)

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute (the flour should not take on any color).

Pour in chicken stock, whisking until fully incorporated, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, continue whisking, until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Add the broccoli and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne. Return to a boil, stirring to combine. Reduce heat and simmer until broccoli is tender about 10 to 20 minutes.

Working in batches, transfer broccoli mixture to a blender, a food processor, or an immersion blender, whiz it less if you like bigger pieces of broccoli. Be careful, it will be very hot.

Set the pot of soup over low heat and whisk in cream, if using. If it's too thick, then you can thin it with a little more stock or water. Stir in some grated cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper, if needed and sprinkle more cheddar on top. Serve immediately. Garnish with croutons!