Broccoli Cheese Soup

Our version is loaded with lots of fresh vegetables and warm, aromatic herbs and spices. Double this recipe so you'll have lots of leftovers -- we promise you're going to want them!

PREP TIME: 20 minutes
COOK TIME: 30 minutes

Ingredients
One bunch of fresh broccoli
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus extra for topping
1 heaping cup of grated regular gouda cheese
1 cup of shredded carrots
1 small chopped white onion
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup half and half, room temperature
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions
Heat a stock pot to medium-high. Add broth, broccoli, onion, garlic, carrots, and bay leaf. Simmer on medium, covered, for about 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

In a large pot, melt 3 tablespoons of butter on medium heat, whisking constantly. Once melted, slowly add 3 tablespoons of flour as you continue to whisk.

Remove from heat and slowly pour in the broth from your veggie mixture and stir to incorporate.

Next pour in the veggies and slowly stir in 1 cup of room temperature half and half.
Return to the burner on very low heat, uncovered.

Spoon out the bay leaf and season with garlic powder, allspice, nutmeg, basil and cayenne.

Slowly stir in the grated cheeses and remove from heat immediately.

Garnish with a little extra grated cheddar and fresh basil, if you like.