It is almost spring and the temperatures here are starting to warm up a little bit, but we had to make this Broccoli Bacon Cheese Soup one last time before we call it good for soup season. I can’t decide if I’m ready for winter to be over though. It was our first year back having actual non-Arizona winters…and we all LOVED it. The snow, the cold (in AZ it never really got truly cold), the morning frost, big bowls of steamy soup and hot chocolate… ah winter. But seasons come and go right?
Broccoli Bacon Cheese Soup…Why Bacon?
This soup is a classic, its been around for decades. Broccoli cheese soup is so good and often the soup of choice when I go to a restaurant. We wanted to take it up a level though on the comfort food scale… so we added B-A-C-O-N (because who doesn’t love bacon?!). Let me tell you it took this recipe from really good to AMAZING. Bacon added another depth to the flavor that wasn’t overly powerful, but just enough to add that rich flavor. I don’t think I can go back to making it without bacon. My kids agree, they all had seconds and that says a lot. Can you imagine this in a bread bowl or as part of your baked potato bar….hmmm…that might be what we have for dinner.
2 Tricks For Stellar Broccoli, Bacon, Soup Flavor
There are two tricks to this recipe. The first trick is to cook the broccoli in chicken broth. You of course want your broccoli to be tender for soup but when you cook it in the chicken broth rather then just water it injects it with flavor that will come through in each chunk of broccoli. It also goes the other way, since you will keep the chicken broth and use it in the soup as well you are helping to meld the broccoli into the broth as well.
The second trick is to cook the bacon in a pan until it is nice and crispy and save the fat. You need the fat to create that great bacon flavor but you need enough fat left in your pan. The trick here is to cook your bacon slowly Bon Appetit says it should take you 10 to 12 mins to cook bacon to properly develop and remove the fat. I will admit I am no where near that patient but I have learned that blasting bacon with high heat leaves you with almost no fat to use for flavoring. So I fall somewhere around the 8 minute mark. Just go slow and give it time to cook. The bacon grease is what is going to give you the stellar bacon flavor through the soup and the crumbled bacon on top adds that small crunch so it is worth the time.
Love Soups? Check out these recipes
- 1½ lbs fresh broccoli (or 1 pkg frozen chopped broccoli)
- 16 oz chicken broth
- 1 large onion--diced
- 1 stick butter
- 1 tbsp bacon grease
- ½ cup flour
- ½ tsp dry mustard
- 2 cups milk
- 1½ cup + ½ cup cheddar cheese-grated
- pinch of salt (to taste really)
- 1 tsp of pepper
- 8 pieces of cooked bacon-crumbled
- Put broccoli in a saucepan with the chicken broth
- Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover, cook until fork tender (about 15-20 minutes)DO NOT DRAIN
- Cook bacon in a hot pan, remove once crispy. Leave the grease in the pan and add butter
- Melt butter and bacon grease over medium heat in stock pot. Add diced onion and saute until tender.
- Stir in flour, mustard, pepper and salt.
- Slowly add milk, whisking quickly to keep smooth (if it gets lumpy stop adding milk and whisk until smooth)
- Continue to stir until thick and bubbly.
- Add broccoli and broth.
- Slowly add 1½ cups shredded cheese and stir until melted.
- Top with shredded cheese and crumbled bacon