Jan has been cooking and writing about food for over 20 years. She has cooked on multiple television stations, including the Food Network.
Tastes Just Like Panera's Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Recently, my son Boone and I have been traveling, and we discovered Panera Bread restaurant. We live in a tiny town, so we don't have one near us, and it's awful because we have fallen in love.
We love the fresh, natural, and homemade flavors at Panera Bread Company, and I didn't want to wait for another road trip before I got that luscious broccoli cheddar soup again. So I went to work duplicating it—and was pretty successful, if I do say so myself.
This soup is just about everything you could want: rich, hearty, cheesy, and loaded with fresh flavor from the broccoli and carrots. When I finally got exactly what I wanted, several of the kids actually stood around in the kitchen, right at the stove, with bowls, in silence. That's how you know you've done it right!
My only tip is don't let the soup boil after you've added the half and half. If you do, it might break or curdle. So be a little patient (it's only half an hour), and keep the pot at a mere simmer. You'll love the payoff.
With loaf of hearty, crusty bread and a big salad, you've got a fabulous, easy weeknight meal that takes almost no time.
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 of a white onion, diced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups half and half
- 1 medium carrot (1 cup) grated or cut fine julienne
- 1/2 pound fresh or frozen broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 cups (8 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onions, and stir, cooking just a minute or two.
- Add the flour and stir well, until all the white has disappeared and the flour is fully incorporated.
- Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and half and half, stirring constantly to keep it smooth.
- Add the carrot and broccoli, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Bring the soup up just to a simmer, and simmer, uncovered about 20-25 minutes. Don't let the soup boil - keep the heat low. If it boils it could separate or curdle.
- Stir in the shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and stir just until melted. The soup is done! Taste and adjust for salt and pepper, and serve with crusty bread.
1. Start with Butter and Onion
2. Add Flour, Then Liquids
3. Stir in Half and Half
4. Add Carrots and Broccoli
5. Add Nutmeg, Kosher Salt, and Pepper
6. Stir in the Sharp Cheddar
7. Eat Your Perfect, Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup
How to Make Your Own Chicken Broth
© 2017 Jan Charles
Bill Yovino on December 11, 2017:
Sounds good! I'll give it a try.