This is my daughter’s “Go-To” Soup whenever we visit Panera Bread. Of course she has to have it in a bread bowl, too! When I told her I was making this for dinner, she literally jumped for joy!!! This recipe is super easy to throw together…
The original recipe had barely enough to feed 4, so I went ahead and converted it into a more realistic pot of soup that will be enough to feed four, and maybe have some leftovers! We like leftovers, so if you double it you’ll have some for lunch the next day! – OR – you could throw some ham or chicken in there, top it with pastry dough or pie crust and make a potpie!!!
1 vidalia onion, chopped
2 cups chopped carrots
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups half-and-half
4 cups chicken stock**
3 broccoli crowns, chopped (see notes)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
16 ounces fresh grated cheddar cheese
*I like to use half sharp cheddar & half mild cheddar
Salt & Pepper to taste
Optional: Seasoned Salt
**I like to use a jarred roasted chicken base (Better Than Bouillon is my fave!) If you have that, use 4 tsp of the base with 4 cups of water in place of the chicken stock.
NOTE: I chop the broccoli into different sizes, so there are bigger pieces and some that will just fall apart into the soup, but you want small bite size pieces and smaller – Also, I like to use quite a bit of broccoli, so this isn’t exact, use as much as you like. I don’t use the stems. I even take my knife and cut off the very outer edge of one of half of one of the broccoli crowns, so it fills the soup with as much broccoli as I can get in there! This is why I get so much broccoli – make sure to get the crowns, too. Don’t waste your money on the weight of the stems that you aren’t going to use anyway!
1) Saute the onion and carrots in butter and a light sprinkle of S & P – until softened, and only slightly browned.
2) Stir in the flour and stir everything together for a good 2 minutes, get that flour taste cooked out!
3) Slowly whisk in the half and half and chicken stock. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Stirring constantly.
4) Add the broccoli. Simmer on medium low for about 25 minutes until the broccoli is tender. Stirring occasionally.
5) Add nutmeg and cheese. Let the cheese melt, Give it a good stir, then taste. Add S & P to taste. I’ve been known to use a little seasoned salt to give it a little extra “oomph”.
6) Serve in individual bread bowls. I used mini boule – A regular bowl will work, too I suppose… I recommend the bread bowl though!
7) If it thickens up as it sits, just toss in a little bit of chicken stock to the desired consistency.