In a large stockpot, melt butter over medium heat. Cook celery and onion in butter until softened.
Stir in broccoli, and cover with stock. Simmer until broccoli is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
If you want your soup chunky, remove about a cup of broccoli with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Reduce heat, and stir in the garlic powder and paprika. Add the shredded cheddar cheese gradually, stirring constantly, and continue to stir until melted.
Using a stick blender, blend until smooth.
Stir in the broccoli that was removed earlier and serve. Salt and pepper to taste
To make the soup extra thick, before adding the cheese I ladle out stock until it just covers the broccoli.
This soup is perfect for broccoli that isn't at its freshest and has started to yellow a bit. No point in wasting perfectly good food!
To avoid clumping while adding the cheese, use store-bought, pre-shredded cheese. Add it gradually and make sure the temperature isn't too hot. The heat should be fairly low when adding the cheese. If it’s too hot, the cheese can seize up and clump.
If shredding your own cheese (instead of buying store bought pre-shredded cheese), try coating the cheese with a little arrowroot powder to keep it from clumping.
Don't own a stick hand blender? No problem. You can use a food processor or blender to puree the soup.
For an added wow factor and a bit of crunchy texture, try sprinkling crispy bacon over the soup before serving.