Broccoli Cheese Soup (Panera Bread version)

This was attempt #2 to copy one of my favorite Panera soups.  For those of you who do not live near a Panera Bread restaurant, I am sorry.  For those of you who do, this is seriously close to their version.  I found this recipe online (website on the bottom in the notes) and modified it slightly.  Also, for those of you who were wondering about attempt #1.  It failed, crashed and burned really…tt was such a bummer that it has taken me at least a year to get the courage to try again.  So glad I pulled up my bootstraps and did.  Really, really, glad.  Yum.

Anyways, here is my version and the original it is based on.  If you are wondering about the onion thing, it is probably fine as written, but I could not cook onions today due to an eye injury (not mine, although that would make for a better story,) and my non functional exhaust fan over my stove that is apparently just for looks!?!?  Yeah.  So the dried minced version we did use.  Also onion powder, which I realize is not really a real ingredient, but you know, you do what you have to.  But the main difference I made in the process was to abandon the concept of blending the final soup in batches and you know what?  My blender is kinda breaking (wedding gift, 6 years…seriously, Kitchen Aid, can’t you make quality stuff to last longer than that?  Oh, maybe it was the 140 tons of frozen fruit and ice we have blended in it.  We are kind of Jamba Juice junkies.  We don’t live within 26 minutes of one (for real, it takes like 30 minutes to get to our nearest Jamba…I know, lame.)  Wait, I am getting off track.  So, no blending, but just smooshed the cooked brocooli with a fork slightly breaking up the larger florets in the soup and TaDA!  Perfect texture.

 

Broccoli Cheese Soup

just like Panera Bread version

Ingredients

  1. 1/4 cup melted butter
  2. 1/2 tsp onion powder 1/2 tsp minced onion
  3. 1/4 cup flour
  4. 2 cups half-and-half
  5. 2 cups chicken stock or bouillon
  6. 1/2 pound fresh broccoli
  7. 1 cup carrots, julienned or grated
  8. 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar

Directions

  1. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and slowly add the half-and-half (this is called making a roux). Add the chicken stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 20 minutes or less.
  2. Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. The soup should be thickened by now. Smash some of the broccoli with a fork and add the grated cheese. Stir until blended.
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