Instant Pot: Broccoli Cheese Soup

Lately, I've been flipping through cookbooks for inspiration on our meals. One of the recipes that caught my eye was this one for Broccoli Cheese Soup. I've been craving soup lately so a bowl of this soup was perfect for lunch. It was creamy, a vibrant green and flavorful with a faint hint of heat. One thing you won't find in this particular recipe is a lot of heavy cream like traditional recipes. Instead, this version has everything you love about broccoli cheese soup, only healthier!

For this soup, the first time I made it, I thought it was slightly bland. As a result, I added a little bit more garlic, some garlic and onion powder and changed up the cheeses. I definitely preferred my adapted recipe since it added some flavor it was missing initially. If you must, you could substitute frozen broccoli but I prefer fresh for the flavor and color. Even though the broccoli is cooked down, the baking soda called for in the recipe will help retain the green color. Should you use frozen broccoli, you may have to increase the amount of baking soda to prevent it from having the already processed broccoli turning a grayish color. I served this soup with some toasted slices of French bread, sprinkled with sharp cheddar cheese.

Broccoli Cheese Soup
recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds broccoli
1 cup yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
pinch cayenne pepper
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
3 cups water
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or chicken stock
2 oz baby spinach (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese plus more for garnish
3/4 cup shredded Italian cheese blend (Parmesan, Romano, Asiago, Mozzarella)

Prepare the broccoli by cutting the florets cut into bite sized pieces. For the stalks, peel and also cut into bit sized pieces. This will make it faster to cook through and easier to blend later in the recipe.

In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

Press SAUTE and melt the butter.

Once butter has melted, add the broccoli, onion, garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, dry mustard, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon salt. 

Add 1 cup of water and baking soda, stir.

Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 0 minutes on HIGH pressure.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 0 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 0 minutes, turn the setting on top of your IP to VENTING. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release any remaining pressure (also known as QPR or QR). I use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your IP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.

Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen).

Press SAUTE and add the broth (or stock) and the remaining 2 cups of water; bring to a boil. 

Add the spinach, and cook until wilted, about 1 minute, if not less. Using a stick or immersion blender, puree until smooth. 

Turn IP off and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the cheeses until melted through. 

To serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with additional cheddar.