It all started with a request from a reader, Alena. Here’s what she said: “Do you have a recipe for cheddar broccoli soup like Panera? It is my granddaughter’s favorite and I would like to make it for our cookie baking day. Loved your recipe for Panera black bean soup. Thanks so much.”
Well, Alena, I do have a nice clone of this broccoli cheese soup like Panera’s. I looked up a bunch of recipes and found a few that sounded promising including one from the site www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com.
Here’s my slight adaptation which my family loved.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup like Panera
2 tablespoons butter – I used unsalted but salted is OK
3/4 to 1 cup finely diced onion
4 tablespoons melted butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups half & half – I used regular but fat free would be OK
2 cups low sodium, fat free, chicken broth
Generous 1/2 pound broccoli florets – a heaping 3 cups, chopped – I used frozen, thawed
1 carrot, julienned (a good cup – can buy in produce section – called matchsticks)
Nutmeg to taste – I used a whole nutmeg on a grater and used a generous 1/4 teaspoon
8 oz. sharp grated cheddar (2 cups) – I grated mine but you can buy already grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook onion in butter over medium heat until translucent but not brown. Set aside.
Make a roux: whisk melted butter and flour over low heat until bubbly and a bit golden, not brown.
Whisk in half & half and broth and cook to a simmer about 10 minutes.
Add broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat about 20 minutes.
Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
Take off heat and stir in cheese until melted. Enjoy!