I'm a big fan of cheddar broccoli soup but it can be hard to make at home without it becoming clumpy or greasy. Using sodium citrate helps the soup stay together without needing to dilute the flavor of the cheese with flour and other starches. The result is a super smooth, super cheesy soup.
I usually just sauté the broccoli after I render the bacon fat but feel free to steam them if you prefer. This soup is pretty thick, if you'd like it thinner just increase the amount of liquid in it.
I prefer to serve the soup in small bowls or shot glasses. You don't need too much with one serving because it's really rich and a little goes a long way!
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Cook the bacon in a pot over medium heat until the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon, reserving about 2 tablespoons of fat.
Add the onions, pepper, garlic, and thyme to the pot then cook until translucent and just beginning to soften. Remove the vegetables from the pot. Add the broccoli and cook until soft then remove from the pot.
Add the beer and milk to the pot and whisk in the sodium citrate. Bring to a simmer then slowly add in the cheese while pureeing with an immersion blender.
Once all the cheese is incorporated and the soup is smooth, stir in the bacon and vegetables.
Place a spoonful or two of soup into a bowl or small glass. Top with some thyme leaves and a crouton or two.