Saturday, January 23, 2010

Knock Off Panera Broccoli-cheddar Soup

I made this broccoli cheddar soup last week, and it was amazing. It is a fun soup to make because everything happens in stages, so you don't feel too rushed while cooking.

Unfortunately, I can't take credit for the soup because I took it from the Food Network Magazine Jan/Feb 2010 issue, and they are trying to imitate Panera's version. So if you don't mind being totally unoriginal, you must try it. It was so good. Sorry there is no pic... I had already eaten it before I thought I should take a picture of its deliciousness.

PS... I love having a new way to not do work!!!

6 T unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped (I used white)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 c half-and-half
3 c low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg (I used ground netmeg that wasn't so fresh)
1/4 t Kosher Salt (I used regular salt)
1/4 t freshly ground pepper
4 c broccoli florets (about 1 head)
1 large carrot, diced
2 1/2 c (about 8 oz) grated sharp white and cheese, plus more for garnish (I of course added at least a 1/2 c of cheese)
** at Panera it is served in a sourdough bread boule, I lightly toasted some sour dough bread and served it as bread/croutons on top of the soup**

1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat (because I am the only roomie without a Dutch oven, I had to go with the pot)
2. Add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes
3. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, 3 - 4 minutes
4. Gradually whisk in the half-and-half until smooth
5. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves, and nutmeg
6. Season with salt and pepper
7. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
8. Add the broccoli and carrot to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
9. Discard the bay leaves.
10. Puree the soup in batches in a blender, or use an immersion blender, until smooth. (Wahoo for my lovely immersion blender). There will still be flecks of broccoli and carrots.
11. Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until melted.
12. Add up to 3/4 c water if the soup is too thick
13. Garnish with cheese (and sourdough bread if you want it to be extra good)

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