I've never liked cheese based soups. For the most part, I've just never really trusted them! It's always been my belief that a cheese soup was somehow that weird "cheese food" that you get on the nachos at ballgames. It's entirely possible that I'm full of pretentious snobbery and pompous hoity-toity, but ... I've just always struggled with these strange processed cheese foods, generally feeling the issue comes down to texture for me. There's just a strange glutinousness to it that I've always struggled with. Even in my darkest days, I'd still manage to avoid this particular foodstuff.
In any event, this is not about that. There are benefits to processed cheeses, one of which is its ability stay emulsified or ... "together". Many cheeses will melt and separate into stringy strands of protein, floating around in pools of oil. I happen to love this particular behavior in things like Queso Fundido, but ... in a soup, it makes for an ugly stringy mess. The same is often true of things like cheese sauces for Macaroni and Cheese
. If a cheese is sufficiently emulsified or diluted, it tends to stay smooth and creamy, even when melted. This is why some cheesy cream sauces stay "creamy". It's also why thickeners are added to sometimes allow for other ingredients to be added, while adding flour to help with the "mouth feel".
I'm way off track, here ... I can tell.
Point being, melted cheese is fussy stuff. It's tough to make a good soup out of it, without some trickery! In my case, the "trickery" is ... cream cheese! This is an emulsified soft cheese, which is thick and tasty. It makes a perfect vehicle for a cheese soup. It creates a thick and velvety "sauce", in which the cheese can make itself at home in. Throw in some cooked broccoli, simmer and eat! It's an AMAZING taste sensation!
In case you're wondering ... I've been trained to be a little full of myself. Sorry! Blame the chefs that came before me! ;)
If you'd like, you can use bacon fat, in place of the butter at the beginning. You can also replace the vegetable stock with chicken stock, and garnish with bacon bits. You know ... if you're not a vegetarian.