Soup for your bowl

Warm up your bones with this cheesy dish

Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Soup.

Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Soup.

Photo by Meredith J. Cooper

Few things these days have the ability to distract me from reality quite like cooking. I can get completely lost in a recipe— chopping, stirring, seasoning. One of my favorite wintertime creations, which I’ve been tweaking and perfecting for about a year now, is cheesy broccoli chicken soup. I adapted the recipe from one I found on for a broccoli cheese soup. By adding chicken, it becomes a whole meal instead of a starter dish!

One of the best things about this recipe is that it’s very adaptable. I’m sharing the basic version, but feel free to play around a little. For instance, if I’m on a budget, I use Velveeta processed cheese in place of shredded cheddar (the best price locally, by far, is at Winco). It’s not as healthy, but it’s still yummy. I use fresh broccoli, but frozen works, too. I also use my homemade chicken stock (email me for the recipe if you like), but store-bought works fine.

The Super Bowl is Sunday. That generally means finger foods. But if you’re like me and prefer to bring something a bit more substantial to a potluck, this would make a great dish. Just cook first on the stove and then transfer to a slow cooker to keep it hot throughout the game. (I’ve made it entirely in my Crock Pot before and found that it doesn’t get hot enough to thicken it.) This recipe makes 6-8 servings.

Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Soup

1/4 cup butter

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup white wine

1 large head broccoli, chopped, stalks removed

6 cups chicken stock (or about 3 14.5 oz. cans)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 lb. cheddar cheese, shredded (may sub processed cheese—cubed—for some or all of this)

1 1/2 cups milk

2/3 cup cornstarch

3/4-whole rotisserie chicken

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, for garnish

In a large stock pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and cook until soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine. When chopping broccoli, I like to remove the stalks for this soup. Some stalk is fine—especially if you will be blending it—but use mostly florets. Bite-size or smaller pieces. Add chicken stock, then broccoli to the pot, along with salt and pepper. Simmer until broccoli is tender, about 15 minutes.

While soup is simmering, shred your rotisserie chicken meat. I tend to use about 3/4 of the bird and save the rest for a meal the next day. You can, of course, cook your own chicken, but pre-cooked is delicious—and much less work! Once shredded, set aside.

I like my soup with chunks of broccoli, but if you prefer a smoother soup, at this point you can use an immersion blender or transfer soup in batches to a regular blender. Make sure to hold the lid, as hot liquid can splatter!

Add cheese to the pot. Stir every few minutes until it’s melted. Add chicken. In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch into milk to form a slurry. Then pour this slowly, while stirring, into soup. Bring to a boil and simmer for a minute or two, while stirring. This will thicken up your soup. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese and serve with crusty bread. Enjoy!