Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup
1 small white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups vegetable stock (I use the boxed vegetable stock)
2 cups half-and-half
2 small heads broccoli, cut into florets and stems cut into 1-inch pieces (8 to 10 cups)
3 ounces sharp white cheddar, grated (1-1/2 cups)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Pinch of nutmeg
Greek yogurt or sour cream, for garnish (optional for garnishing the soup)
In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until it turns golden, 3 minutes.
Add broth and half-and-half and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and add broccoli. Simmer until broccoli is bright green, 4 minutes, then remove four broccoli florets (for garnish) and rinse under cold water. Reduce heat to low and cover partially; simmer until broccoli is tender, 15 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, puree soup in pot. If you do not own an immersion blender, puree the soup in a blender, working in batches. Be very careful as the hot soup will jump up in the blender once you start to puree the liquid. I use a kitchen towel on the top of the blender, to protect any risk of burning my hands. Pour pureed soup into a large bowl. Immediately whisk in cheddar and season with salt and pepper and nutmeg.
Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with Greek yogurt or sour cream (if using), black pepper, and reserved broccoli.