This soup is luxurious. Cheesy and creamy and so incredibly hearty and delicious. If the thought of bacon and cheese has you crying for a healthier soup, well, let your woes be gone! The ten cups (ten cups!) of vegetables in this soup should put your mind at ease. Not that vegetables literally cut calories, but we can all agree they are good for your body and soul. And if I’m eating a soup with ten cups of vegetables hidden in the depths, you better believe I’m going to throw in some cheese and bacon, too. It just seems like the right thing to do.
Like classic broccoli cheese soup on steroids, here’s what you’ll get with this loaded broccoli cheese bacon soup: fabulous cheesy flavor with tender bits of broccoli as well as salty pieces of bacon and gobs of tender carrots, celery and potatoes bathed in a silky, creamy soup.
We have officially declared this our new favorite soup of the fall season. I think it was the first meal in a while that I didn’t even need to rinse the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher because the bowls were scraped perfectly clean. And that was after most of us had seconds. I employed the boys help with all the chopping of the vegetables and spent the entire meal hearing them declare: “Hey, I just ate one of the carrots I chopped!” to which another child would quickly respond “Nuh-uh, I chopped that one.” Sigh. At least they ate well. I would have declared this the Ultimate Perfect Miracle-of-all-Miracles Soup if there had been no quibbling at dinner. Still on the hunt for that one…
Loaded Broccoli Cheese and Bacon Soup
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup peeled and chopped carrots, diced small
- 1 cup chopped celery, diced small
- 3 cups peeled and chopped potatoes, diced small
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 4-5 cups broccoli crowns, diced small (about 2 heads of broccoli)
- 4-6 slices bacon, chopped
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup flour
- 3 cups milk
- 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 16 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard
- In a large saucepan, combine the chicken broth, carrots, celery, potatoes and onion. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are starting to get tender.
- Add the chopped broccoli. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. The pan is going to be very full of vegetables and it might seem like it isn’t “soupy” enough since the vegetables overpower the broth but I promise it will all work out when you add the cheese mixture.
- In a separate medium saucepan, saute the bacon until golden and crisp. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain the grease and wipe out the saucepan.
- Melt the butter (in the same saucepan you cooked the bacon in) over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until golden, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook until the mixture is bubbling and is slightly thickened, 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in the cheddar cheese one handful at a time, adding another handful after the cheese that has been added has melted. Stir in the salt, pepper and dry mustard.
- Slowly stir the cheese sauce into the hot broth and vegetables, whisking to combine well. Stir in the reserved bacon and add additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed. If you want the soup a bit thinner, stir in a little extra broth or milk a bit at a time until you get the consistency you are looking for.
You could easily use turkey bacon here especially since the bacon grease is drained before proceeding with the recipe. Alternately, if you like to live life on the edge, you can use the bacon grease for the base of the white sauce and omit the butter (just make sure you have at least 3 tablespoons, otherwise, supplement with butter). This soup is definitely on the thicker side of things; if you want a thinner soup, consider decreasing the broccoli by half (only using 2 cups or so) or adding additional broth at the beginning or the end.
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Recipe Source: adapted from a recipe my sister-in-law, Melissa, sent me by way of her friend Meredith (thanks, Meliss!) – I made a ton of changes: decreased butter from 8 tablespoons to 3, increased liquid and used broth instead of water, used real cheese instead of velveeta and changed up the quantities of vegetables to name a few.