I have a sister who loves Broccoli Cheese Soup. However, she is particular about said soup.
I suppose she's somewhat a connoisseur of it.
She really likes the soup at Bread Co./Panera (name, of course, depending on the part of the country you're in... the lone tiny island in the middle vs. the rest of it).
Anyway, for some reason she was searching for the recipe, and she found someone's interpretation of it. It's pretty good, and I like that it has more vegetables than I expected. It's not just broccoli pureed in a cheese sauce.
A roux is what will help thicken the soup (and there's a very good chance you've done it before). It's a combination of butter and flour, the mixture being cooked so that the flour is not raw and pasty. It's actually the base for many sauces in classical French cooking.
When blending the soup, you may, of course, blend it to the consistency of your choice. However, Broccoli Cheese Soup Connoisseur and I both believe that it needs to have a little chunkiness. Not too much though! I've been told large hunks of broccoli are frowned upon.
Broccoli Cheese Soup
5 T butter, divided
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 c flour
1/2 lb. broccoli
1 c carrot, julienned
2 c chicken stock
2 c half and half
8 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 t fresh ground nutmeg
Melt 1 T butter in a medium saucepan. Add onion and saute until translucent. Remove onion from the pan and set aside.
Melt the rest of the butter in the same saucepan over medium heat, add the flour to make a roux, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Slowly add the half and half and the chicken stock, whisking to incorporate. Continue to cook over medium heat, simmering and stirring frequently, until it is thickened (about 20 minutes).
Add the broccoli, carrots, and onions to the simmering soup, and cook 20-25 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. Stir in 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
Blend the soup in batches in a food processor or blender, being careful not to overfill! Place the soup back in the pan, add grated cheese and nutmeg, and stir until the cheese it melted and incorporated into the soup. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve.