So, I didn’t know this, but apparently I am really into soup.
I just realized that I have so many soup recipes I want to make and share with you guys over the next month or so. Like start expecting one a week. I am even sharing soups all over the internet at the moment. I don’t know if you’ve seen this yet, but umm, I recently made a buffalo chicken chili (with beer bread toast for dipping!!) for the first time and fell in love. <–If you didn’t already, click that link.
Bring on the soup, right???
But who doesn’t love soup, it’s warm and comforting, and in today’s case, so cheesy.
Broccoli cheddar soup is such a classic. I have loved it since the very first time I ever had it as a kid at Panera…bread bowl and all. Actually, I think the bread bowl was my favorite part. I loved how it soaked up the cheese soup. I mean, the best, right?!?
It seems every fall I come up with a slightly new way to show you guys broccoli cheddar soup. My very first year of blogging, I tried to copycat Panera’s recipe. The next year I added butternut squash and curry. Last year I made broccoli cheddar soup hand pies, and this year? This year I am going back to the classic, but adding fried cheese curds.
Yes, cheese curds!! If you’ve never had cheese curds, now is the time. If you are possibly weirded out by them, GET OVER IT.
Do you remember this summer when I went to Madison, Wisconsin? That was the trip I discovered and fell in love with cheese curds (ok and all things Wisconsin too!). And not just cheese curds themselves, but fried cheese curds. Like whoa. Yes. And WHOA. And then DELICIOUS.
And I promise, I am not being paid to go on and on about cheese curds. I really just want to express how much I love them, and how I would be so excited if you tried them. Like it would make my day, no my week. I just know you will all love them. Honestly, there’s really no way you couldn’t, it’s fired cheese.
OMG. Just stop.
Like I said earlier, I kept the broccoli cheddar soup pretty traditional. I didn’t want any crazy flavors to take away from those cheese curds. So the soup is quick and easy to make. It’s obviously delicious on its own and especially when served in a bread bowl. I couldn’t help but bring back my childhood favorite, so I made some bread bowls for the soup. There’s just something so amazing and fun about eating out of bread.
FYI, bread rulz, my mom taught me that important life lesson.
You can use regular bowls if that’s more your thing…but at least get some bread for dipping. No soup is complete with out carbs. Don’t argue that, I’ll stick with those words until I go to my grave!
Yes, I am serious about my soup and bread.
Ok, but the curds!! I am pretty sure cheese curds are widely available at most grocery stores now. I have seen them both at my local grocery store and my local Whole Foods. I used fresh Wisconsin Cheese curds for this soup because I have the bestest friends over at Wisconsin Cheese, and they kindly sent me some…sometimes on Fridays I’ll get a surprise package full of cheese curds.
Can you say best Friday surprise ever or what?!?
Anyway, frying cheese curds is the way to go if you are a newbie. They’re honestly down right incredible and there’s a large possibility you’ll eat all the curds before they even make it to the top of the soup.
Once you try your first, you’ll understand what I’m saying.
OH and?? I totally used pumpkin beer in my frying batter. Broccoli cheddar soup with fried cheese curds – suddenly Thursday’s killin’ it!
Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Fried Cheese Curds.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 cups button mushrooms finely chopped
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups milk I used 2% - I also love using canned coconut milk
- 2-3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 cups broccoli florets about 1 head
- 1 large carrot diced
- 2 leaves bay
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2½ - 3 cups grated sharp white or yellow cheddar
- 4 7- inch sourdough bread boules round loaves
Heat the butter + olive oil in a large dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the onion + mushrooms and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually whisk in the milk and broth until smooth. Add the broccoli, carrots, bay leaves, thyme, cayenne and nutmeg, then season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, until the broccoli is tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Once the broccoli is tender, remove at least half of the broccoli florets and the bay leaves from the the soup. Puree the remaining soup in batches in a blender until chunky-smooth. Return the soup to the pot. Add back the reserved broccoli.
Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until melted. Divide the soup among the bread bowls (or regular bowls) and top with fried cheese curds (recipe below).
Fried Cheese Curds
Add the oil to a heavy bottom pot about an inch up the sides of the pot. Bring the oil to 375 degrees F.
In a bowl, combine the flour, salt and cayenne. Whisk in the beer and egg until a smooth batter forms.
Working in batches dip a handful of curds through the batter and then carefully add them to the hot oil. Fry the curds until golden brown, 1 or 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot atop the warm soup.
Without a doubt.