Classic Broccoli Cheddar Soup in Bread Bowls is a dish to celebrate the best of fall and winter.
Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and carrot and cook until tender and fragrant, about 7 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, about 2 minutes, then gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Add the broth, broccoli, bay leaves, cayenne, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
While the soup cooks, prepare the bread bowls: Using a sharp knife, cut a circle into the top of each loaf, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Remove the bread top, hollow the bread out of the middle with a fork, leaving a thick shell.
Remove the soup from the stove and discard the bay leaves. Puree the soup in batches in a blender or use an immersion blender.
Return the soup to the stove and set over low heat. Stir in the cheese until melted. Add the fresh thyme and cook another 2-3 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add 3/4 cup of water. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with addition shredded cheddar.