Broccoli Cheddar Soup….it’s mmm mmm good.

So last night I had some extra time to spend in the kitchen while Kevin was at night class.  It was frigid outside.  I had broccoli in the fridge I needed to use–and sharp cheddar cheese in the freezer begging to be devoured.  Cold…broccoli…cheese…yep, it was definitely  the night to satisfy my stomach, no, soul, with some broccoli cheddar soup.  First things first- it’s probably imperitive that you know Panera probably qualifies as my favorite restaurant, because they serve my favorite FAVORITE soup….their thick, creamy, broc-ched soup is a little gift from heaven poured into a bowl (or bread bowl, on occasion).  There’s just something about soup– and creamy soups for that matter — that really warm you up and satisfy you on a cold day.  So, because I hate spending money as you all know, and because I had a creative spark, I decided it was high time I really perfect my  broccoli cheddar soup recipe.

I’ve made soup plenty of times.  I enjoy it.  I love to stand in front of the stove and cook for a while and in the end have a huge pot full of yumminess to share (or hoard to myself).  I make pretty darn good soup, too, and my broccoli cheddar is not an exception.  I make sure its cheesy and creamy and full of fat love.  But, I decided that no matter how good people agreed my soup was, I wanted to embody Panera, at least for tonight.  Their’s has this special little something that makes it so easy to consume a whole bowl before realizing there’s no more left to savor.  So…time for some research into their recipe.

 

If you google for a panera recipe, chances are, you can find quite a few recipes that mock their soups/sandwiches etc.  Many of them have 4 or 5 stars, and plenty of reviews to help you make it the best it can be.  To me, though, they were lacking some sparkle, a dazzle.  Something was surely missing, because I make recipes OFTEN similar to what I saw, and there was still something missing.  So then I googled about what flavors help to bring out cheese or broccoli flavors.  A few hits, a few misses, I got some ideas.  Then, I decided…it’d probably be easier to just taste test.

 

And so it was born.  An idea and a recipe that tastes amazing and can repair any type of heartbreak or turmoil.  Once I was done cooking this soup, I had already consumed at least 1/4 of the batch, and went back for another big bowlful right after.  This soup was amazing.  This soup was to die for.  If I do say so myself– I found their secret, used it to my advantage, and should become super rich selling this crack-soup out of my kitchen.

 

Hungry? Go make some of this.  Follow my directions.  Let me know how much you love it.  And do yourself a favor and ignore the nutritional content when it comes to calories.  You’ll thank yourself and me.  Now, go…get cooking.

 

Panera Knock-off Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

by Kate 🙂

 

Ingredients:

1 TBSP butter or oil (to saute onion)
1/2 medium onion, chopped (i used a sweet onion)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half (this is equal to the pint containers you can find at the store)
2 cups chicken broth
2-4 cups of broccoli crowns, fresh and cut (range depends on how much broccoli flavor you want)
1 cup carrots, shredded small enough to cook and soften
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon secret ingredient *hint: it’s nutmeg*
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese + some for sprinkling on top, if you wish

 

Now- for the directions.  I took pictures all the while I was cooking in case anyone needed reference points! I hope it helps 🙂

 

First, melt the tablespoon of butter in a pan and chop the onion.

Add in the onion and stir it while cooking for 4-5 minutes until the onion is soft and golden, then set aside.

Melt butter in pot and whisk in flour, constantly stirring.

You don’t want the flour to burn.

Cook while stirring for around 3 minutes, then slowly pour in half-and-half.  Still whisk until all combined.

 

Add in chicken broth, continuing to whisk.

 

Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, chop broccoli and carrots.

When 20 minutes is up, add in veggies and stir.

Cook mixture for another 20 minutes.  The liquid should be thick at this point.

Add salt and pepper.  I used about 1 teaspoon each.

Once time is up, carefully pour into a blender if you like your soup without chunks of veggies.  I did this as Kevin doesn’t really like big chunks in his soup.

Return to pot, stir in cheese and heat until melted.

Then, add in the nutmeg and cook for another few minutes.  The nutmeg cuts down on the ‘bite’ of the cheese and really makes the flavors blend!

 

The only thing left to do is put some into a bowl to eat…or eat right from the pot, as I did.  YUM!  Hope you enjoy 🙂  Any questions or comments, please let me know!

 

You’re welcome, guys.

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