I made this by a fluke. I had every intention to make cream of broccoli soup for dinner…something I hadn’t had in many moons. It was even a part of my meal plan for this week. But somewhere in between the hours of 9 and 5, my hungry thoughts happily pondered the cheesy, creamy flavor of Panera Bread’s Broccoli and Cheese Soup. MMPH, Mmph, mmph! Enough said!
Having taken off sick the day before, I was swamped with work. So much so I couldn’t sneak away for lunch – not even for the 5 minute drive to Panera. By the time the afternoon sun had taunted me with it’s warm glow despite the snow, I had rhythmically resolved to my insatiable hunger, “Sooooon as I-I-I-I-I get hooooooome…I’ll maaaaake it up to yooooou, baby I’ll do what I gotta dooooo… (in my Faith Evans voice).”
Boy did I ever!!! This was by no means my first time making broccoli and cheddar cheese soup. But, it was the only time I made it and licked the bowl! Heck, I hardly ever eat dinner so that in itself should tell you how phe”nomnom”enal it is.
I kid you not – this is DANGEROUSLY close to that of Panera Bread’s soup. I would by no means declare it is the exact replica, but if my “I MUST have meat with my meal” husband and kids thoroughly enjoyed it for at least two helpings, well you know it’s GOTTA be good! 😉
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Yield: About 16 servings
- 2 sticks butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3 carrots, diced
- 12 cups fresh broccoli, chopped (medium, bite-size pieces)
- 5 cups sharp cheddar cheese
- In a large stockpot on medium high heat, melt butter.
- Add onion and saute until tender (about 5 minutes).
- Gradually add in flour, stirring until well blended and roux is thick.
- Slowly stir in heavy cream and milk until well blended.
- Pour in chicken broth, stirring to blend.
- Add in bay leaves, salt, pepper and nutmeg, stirring to blend well. Return to simmer about 10 minutes.
- Remove bay leaves and discard.
- Add in carrots and broccoli and let simmer about 20 minutes until vegetables are tender.
- Remove pot from heat.
- With an immersion blender, blend soup well leaving a few chunks of vegetables (if desired). Alternatively, you can pour the soup in a blender, blend lightly then return to pot while still hot.
- Add cheese to soup and stir until well blended.
- Serve hot with bread and enjoy!
This is a lot of soup! If you don't need to feed as many as I do, make the recipe as is and freeze half for later consumption.